Homily from Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, at Assembly 2018
Following is the homily given by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, at the liturgy for Assembly 2018 held in Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s University Nov. 3.
We gather to celebrate and to recommit ourselves to the kingdom of God – where there is justice for everyone without exception, mercy and compassion, harmony and unity, reconciliation and healing, love and peace! We help to build that kingdom through encounter, dialogue, and inclusion.
We live in difficult times. We experience the absence of the kingdom all around us — the injustices, violence, pride and arrogance, blatant lying – that lead to alienation, divisiveness, polarization. This is unacceptable to missionary disciples of Jesus.
There are many ways to experience the kingdom – as we are doing today! When the Holy Family traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem for the major Jewish feasts, they traveled in caravans – not only for mutual protection, but also to express their solidarity as a people of God, united in their worship of God, seeking justice for all, sharing their concern for their families and future.
In Jesus’ day when Jews gathered around a table, the expectation was that they were in right relationships with one another, trusted one another, wereconcerned about their neighbors’ welfare. In today’s gospel in the home of a Pharisee, Jesus notes how people were choosing the best places at the table. Jesus reminds us that God is the host in the kingdom of God. It is not for us to puff ourselves up in alleged superiority over someone else. We are to behave as guests, making no claims, setting no conditions. We are to exclude no one from gathering at thetable set by God.
Hospitality is at the heart of the Christian life. The Synod of Bishops that concluded last weekend in Rome expressed concern –that women have a place at the table where decisions are made – that sexual orientation not exclude someone from God’s family table – that young people, migrants and refugees, the poor and the forgotten, the “prostitute” and the “tax collector” of the gospels are invited to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. This means that, as missionary disciples, we are to encounter others as they are – not as we think they should be – and to offer hospitality — to provide a safe haven, an oasis where they can enjoy a sense of the kingdom of God – safety, mercy, compassion, welcome, love, peace!
That is our challenge for the next year: to build a Catholic Culture of Encounter! Our Lady will accompany us and show us the way. Dear Lady, embrace us with your motherly love!