Social Justice

1st Sunday of Lent

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Originally delivered on February 12, 1989

Readings: Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Letter of Paul to the Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

On this first Sunday of Lent, Fr. Healy talks about tithing and it’s importance as a practical need to care for our brothers and sisters. We are reminded by the Gospel reading that we should not be tempted by material security, desire for power over others, or relinquishing our responsibility to take action to improve our human condition. Through charity, especially when it is not just from our surplus, we show our love by caring for the poor, the needy, and the desperate.  

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on February 9, 1992

Readings: Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8; Corinthians 15:1-11 or 15:3-8,11; Luke 5:1-11

Although we are not worthy, we are called to be the Good News. In today’s Gospel, we hear that Peter is moved by the power of Jesus and then became a fisher of men and women.  Each of us, although unworthy, are called by God to use our talents in our vocation. We are reminded of the examples of Rep. Mickey Leland and Fr. Antoine Adrien who answered their calls to work towards ending hunger, poverty, and unjust government arrangements.  We are called to speak out and challenge the injustices that we see in our local communities and in the world.  Originally delivered in 1992, the issues of Haiti and healthcare are passionately given to us as examples of injustices that we can do something about.  Ironically, perhaps more than then, these issues and injustices still exist today. We aren’t worthy but we are forever called by Jesus  to do something.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on January 19, 1992

Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5; Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-12

How will Isaiah’s words, “I will not be silent” propel us into action? In likely his most passionate homily, Fr. Healy reminds us to add our voices on behalf of the poor, especially those in Haiti, to bring about justice. We are reminded in this powerful homily of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words: “We know through painful experience, that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, but demanded by the oppressed…the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be…”  We are asked to use our unique gifts from God, whatever those gifts might be, to be extremists to ensure that everyone will have a place at the table, making the prophesy of the Gospel come true.  We are each called.  How will we respond to that calling?

3rd Sunday of Advent

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Originally Delivered on December 11, 1988
Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-18; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

John the Baptizer says to us that we must change our ways because Jesus is coming.  We might do well to be as fervent in our preparations for Jesus in our lives as John the Baptizer is.  At the very least, we must use only what we need, be just toward others, and make the world a little bit better for our sisters and brothers through simple acts of kindness and joy.

2nd Sunday of Advent

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Originally delivered on December 4, 1988
Readings: Baruch 5:1-9; Philippians 1:4-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6

In anticipation of the coming of Jesus, a herald’s voice cries “Make ready the way of the Lord.” While recognizing that we live within an increasingly global village, we must start preparing the way by transforming our own neighborhoods. But we mustn’t stop there.  To “topple the mountains and fill in every valley,” we must look at the economic and political arrangements in our world that keep some poor and others wealthy, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

3rd Sunday of Advent

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Originally delivered on December 13, 1992

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

In this week’s homily, Fr. Healy argues that Bible is a revolutionary message on behalf of the poor. In the first ready, Isaiah is picturing the glory of our Lord.  We are asked to consider the plight of the poor, such as a Somali woman, hearing those words. Would we feel abandoned or swindled by our sisters and brothers? Perhaps for this reason it was dangerous to have slaves or the poor learn to read for fear of them reading the Bible.  It is meant to be an energizer to the the poor and oppressed to stand up to claim their rightful place as God’s children. Indeed, this could be an historic moment for each of us, to decide to give the message to the poor and then to work to make that message come true for our marginalized sisters and brothers.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 20, 1992

Readings: Amos 6:1, 4-7; Paul to Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

We all have the same dilemma.  That is, if we really listen to the words of Jesus, it sounds impossible to follow him.  We are all probably, at our best, silent co-conspirators that keep poor people in their poverty. If we take today’s Scripture readings seriously, they are both challenging and somewhat frightening in their ramifications for how we live our lives. We are called, once again, not to be complacent when our sisters and brothers around the world are still hungry.  God is speaking to us today to not sit back and be complacent.  We should get restless and feel the frustration, as Jesus did, when he saw that some were cast aside and trampled on.  But, the sin in today’s Gospel is not being rich, but rather, being rich and indifferent to those around us.  

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 24, 1989

Readings: Amos 8:4-7; Paul to Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16: 1-13 or 16:10-13

We cannot serve God and money.  We cannot put things in front of people.  People must always be more important and we must never put ourselves in a better position at the expense of our sisters and brothers. Through the second reading, we are told to pray for all the people in positions of power and authority over others.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on August 30,1992

Readings: Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a; Luke 14:1, 7-14

We are reminded that if we want to be great, we should celebrate with and praise the least attended to among us.  If we want to strive for humility, then we should celebrate the reflection of God within ourselves and our sisters and brothers, despite our unworthiness.  It is the mystery of God’s love that makes each of us special and unique.  The challenge for each of us is to give thanks to God for our gifts  By giving constant thanks to God, we achieve humility. But we cannot stop there.  We must also reach out to all of God’s people and use the gifts given to us by God to enrich their lives.  In turn, our own lives will be enlightened by the beauty of Jesus in the face of those “outsiders” that we embrace. 

2nd Sunday of Advent

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Originally delivered on December 6, 1992

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

In today’s homily, we are invited to take a mountain view.  We are challenged to go from the comfortable to someplace new from which to gain a new perspective. We hear in the the first reading of Isaiah’s vision of what might be although it seems as if his vision can never happen.  We are reminded that this vision can only be possible after we hear, respond, and commit ourselves to justice among our sisters and brothers. Are we waiting for God or others to do justice before we commit and act for justice?  What if people, because of us, stop dreaming?  Today, we’re invited to go to the mountaintop, get a new perspective, and then bring about a little less injustice in our world through our actions.