Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Persecution and bullying: Daily Mass Homily--Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

(Listen to this homily here).

           First, just a reminder to everyone that our readers are first and second graders!  Nice job to our students.
            Let’s see who was listening to our readings today.  There was a man in our first reading.  What was his name?  Jeremiah.  Yes, Jeremiah was a bullfrog and a mighty good friend of mine.  I’ll spare you the singing.  Jeremiah was a prophet—someone who spoke God’s Word to others.
            What happened to Jeremiah?  This is a tough one, so let me ask this—did good things or bad things happen to him in this reading?  Bad things.  Right…so what happened?  We heard some big words about Jeremiah—persecuted and contrive.  These basically mean that a group of people were hurting Jeremiah.
            What is it called when people pick on someone or hurt them because they follow Jesus?  Persecution.  Yes, great job.  We may be made fun of for our faith.  Right now there are Christians in our world who are hurt, kidnapped and even killed because they follow Jesus.
            What is it called when someone is hurt by a group of people not because of their faith?  Bullying.  Right.  And bullying is no good.  Have you ever seen me mad?  No.  Some of our parishioners may have seen me angry or getting fired up when I’m preaching, but I don’t think you have seen me angry.  One thing that would get me mad is if I saw any of you getting picked on.  This should never happen here at St. Thomas Aquinas or any Catholic school.  In fact, I am proud of you because, overall, behavior here is great.  While we may have disagreements or have conflict now and again, you all know and love each other and learning how to treat others.  Look at the third and fourth graders sitting with the kindergarteners!  You third and fourth graders need to keep being good examples to our younger students.
            Why is bullying no good?  Because people don’t like it.  Exactly.  Would you like it if I always made fun of you or hurt you?  No.  Of course not.  And I wouldn’t like that either if you picked on me all the time!  Jesus said to treat others as we want to be treated—that’s the Golden Rule.
            But why else?  I may not like eating broccoli, but it is still good for me, right?  So not liking something doesn’t necessarily make something wrong, though bullying is always wrong.  So why is bullying wrong?  God doesn’t like it.  Yep.  God created each and every one of us good.  We are to be loved and cared for, never hurt or picked on.  Bullying is wrong because it hurts a son or daughter of God and we need to watch out for each other.
            Sometimes in life we will be hurt.  While I pray no one here is ever bullied, remember that people like Jeremiah, the saints and most of all Jesus were also picked on, hurt or even killed.  And they were innocent.  In times of trial hold onto Jesus!
            Let’s stand as we offer our prayers to God. 

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