Sunday, May 24, 2015

3 May 2015--Fifth Sunday of Easter

First Reading
Acts 9:26-31
Second Reading
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8

Shared Homily Starter

Today's first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It is set after Saul's conversion. We are told, “ he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. The didn't believe that this man who had been persecuting them had changed his beliefs or his heart. It wasn't until Paul's actions verified the sincerity of his words, that the Apostles truly accepted him.

Yesterday some of us attended the KAIROS Blanket Exercise put together by local Kairos members and graciously hosted by St. James. The KAIROS Blanket exercise is a teaching tool that uses participatory popular education to raise awareness of the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.1 At the beginning of the exercise all the participants stand on blankets spread on the floor . The blankets represent the land mass occupied by the original peoples of Canada. The population and blanket/land area decreases as European and other occupation increases. Periodically, the British, and later Canadian government would pass a law, commission a study or inquiry or issue statement favouring Indigenous peoples. Rarely, however, would actions or policies to support the favourable posturing take place.

We have said we are committed to reconciliation with our Indigenous relatives. One way to show it is to collaborate with local Indigenous people on building honest relationships with each other. Collaboration means that we respect the fact that we are on Coast Salish land, in their house so to speak, and should let them take the lead on protocols when planning an event or ceremony. The protocols of given region are the proper way to do things in that region. True collaboration is an expression of love, anything less is not.

Let us not let our hearts condemn us because we refuse to love one another. We refuse to love one another when we deny the history and its impact on present relations between Native and non-Native Canadians. We refuse to love when we fail to listen deeply to the stories of Indigenous peoples or try to trivialize or diminish the Indigenous Canadian experience. So let us be like Paul in the first reading and let our actions match our words.

The second reading reminds us “to love one another.” To love one another is to work for justice for one another. The Gospel tells us, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” So let all of us in this room allow Jesus' words become our part of us. Let the Holy Spirit move in that part of us so that our words become manifest in our actions. Perhaps little by little our actions may bear the fruit of a just society for all inhabitants of Turtle Island (North America).

Please share your thoughts
1KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. The Blanket Exercise, Third edition, revised August 2013,p. 3

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