Advent Reconciliation Service Homily, 2003
by Fr. Gerry Murphy

When Minster Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and call it PLURALISM. We have exploited the poor and called it THE LOTTERY. We have rewarded laziness and called it WELFARE. We have killed our unborn and called it CHOICE. We have shot abortionists and called it JUSTIFIABLE. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM. We have abused power and called it POLITICS. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it AMBITION. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it ENLIGHTENMENT. Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of your will. And to openly ask these things in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

I don't know what you think of this prayer, or how it may have spoken to you. But this is what is says to me: As a world community, as a Church, as a human family, as a nation, and as individuals we so often lose our way and forget who we truly are. We forget that we are created in the image and likeness of God - and so human life becomes cheap, dispensable and contemptible. We forget that we are an integral part of the earth community - and so we pollute and contaminate our environment. We forget that God's dream of humanity is that we live in communion - and so we invest billions in weapons of destruction and become even more divided. We forget that our spirit needs silence and stillness - and so we over-stimulate our minds and emotions. We forget that we are precious in the eyes of God and that God loves and forgives us unconditionally - and that is why we are here this evening: that we might remember and celebrate the gift of God's healing love in the sacrament of reconciliation.