|August 14, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
Jesuit repeats call for care of our common home
Care for our common home — from the subtitle of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si — means not slamming the door.
Father Czerny offered four steps toward the acceptance of refugees. "We have to begin with a welcome," he said. "You exist. I see you. You are welcome." Welcome, he said, is followed by protection, promotion and integration. Through the last step, he said, "They change. We change."
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, celebrated the Mass, with his Jesuits brothers — some from Santa Clara University's Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley — as well as diocesan priests beside him. Two visiting bishops from England — Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, bishop of Leeds, and Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham — took their place on the altar. The seminarians of the Diocese of Oakland served at the Mass, and Deacon David Paternoster, SJ, who serves at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, proclaimed the Gospel. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who was a Jesuit seminarian, was among those who attended the Mass.
"This is truly a house of God," Father Czerny, who had traveled from Rome, said as he began his homily. "This cathedral is I think an extraordinary invitation for us to recognize God, to encounter God, and to seek God's will."
St. Ignatius, he said, "asks us to consider all blessings and all gifts as coming from above."
"We encounter God, the source of all, we encounter the God who is our true God," he said. "He's not only the God of all. He wants also to be the God of our lives, and that is up to us."
The respectful God waits for people to accept his invitation.
"He invites us, and it seems so simple, to do good and to avoid evil."
The story of our life as followers of Christ, he said, is taking up our cross.
"This is the story of our life as followers of Christ," he said, "is how we have heard him invite us to take up our cross and follow him.
"The invitation, I feel, is re-expressed in the teaching of Pope Francis in our own time," he said. "Pope Francis brings us into the presence of our great God, to the presence of Christ the Lord, by inviting us to follow Christ, to take up our cross, in the great issues of our time.
"In sending his Son to redeem us, God so identified himself with us, that our concerns, our challenges, our difficulties are the very essence of our following of God, of obeying his commandments, of hearing his call, of becoming his people," he said.
Laudato Si, he said, "is a way of living our faith in the world." Pope Francis "asks us to take a good look at the world, what is happening to the water, to the soil, to the air climate, to animals and the birds."
Pope Francis also asks us, Father Czerny said, to look at what's happening to "people who are being made more vulnerable."
"So much of that suffering is due to choices we are making: economic choices, political choices, choices which allow us unfortunately to use more than is our share, to pollute and destroy, to contaminate," he said.
Look to the treasury of Scripture for guidance. "Our faith has reflected on our world and in our religious tradition we have so many resources to help us understand the world in which God placed us," Father Czerny said.
The only way forward, he said, is through "dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue," as Pope Francis has said.
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