Bishop’s Homily for the Mass of 16 June 2014

Bishop’s Homily for the Mass of 16 June 2014. Readings: 1 Kgs 21:1-16; Ps 5:1-6; Matt 5:38-42
            In his homily for today’s Mass, Bishop Robert F. Vasa reflected on the Gospel, in which Jesus tells His disciples, “Offer no resistance to one who is evil.”
            We celebrate today the Mass of the help of Christians, of the persecution of Christians. And in part because of this reading and in part because of the situation which is ongoing in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, as hundreds and thousands of religiously committed people—whether Christians or Islamic sects—are being killed for their faith.
            And if we take the advice, the recommendation of Our Lord, “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil,” we would be pretty much assured of complete devastation.
            So how do we “offer no resistance to one who is evil” and yet occupy that place of saying we must resist evil, we must avoid evil, we have an obligation to protect innocent third persons? It strikes us, perhaps, as an impossible command, impossible to fulfill, for it would lead to the demise of everyone good and only those who are evil would remain.
            Nonetheless it is what Our Lord has said. And it has been proven over time that perhaps weapons do not generate peace, that some form of peaceful resistance, even at the cost of our own lives, may in fact be closer to what Christ calls us to do and to be.
And to trust that in doing that, as useless as it appears to us to be, as sure of a negative result as we are confident it would result in, somehow trusting that if we would put our hearts more firmly in commitment to the gospel, we would have the kind of victory the early Christians had of overcoming evil not through retaliatory kinds of things, and not with fighting fire with fire, but rather with that passive resistance, that joyful acceptance of martyrdom for the sake of the kingdom.
            These are difficult teachings, difficult for us to accept. But I suspect that it’s most difficult because we really do—and I trust we all do—simply lack faith. Isn’t that it. We lack faith. We lack faith in the power of this word to produce a holy result.