Death March – a Homily Worth Sharing

The death penalty is being debated in New Mexico.  “It’s quite a debate” according to my pastor who finds irony in the fact that this debate rages while the death penalty is in fact “the most common penalty”  known to man. “Every single one of us is under a sentence. We are born, so to speak, with a noose around our necks.”

“Our death is an absolute certainty..no second chances, no reincarnation!…  ‘Human beings die once, and then the Judgment.’ Hebrews 9:27 ”  What our pastor finds absolute madness, “insanity to the highest degree,” is that most people on this “Death March” to the grave, never ever stop to consider their end.  “If we die in a state of grace, we shall live for all eternity.  If we die in mortal sin, we shall be damned for all eternity.”  No do-overs!

“The only guarantee of dying a holy death is living a holy life,” Monsignor Raun concluded.

Our Lady of Kibeho and a Worthy Lenten Intention

In Left to Tell, Immaculee Ilibagiza tells her story of the Rwandan genocide. In 1981, many years prior to the Rwandan events( to which the world turned a blind eye,) Our Lady made them known through a series of apparitions (approved by the Church) to seven children, Alphonse, Anathalie, Marie Claire, Agnes, Stephanie and Vestine and Emanuel, a young pagan, known as ‘Sagastasha’ at the time of the revelations.

Approved apparition of Our Lady of Kibeho

In this present day, many of the people who where imprisioned after the genocide are being released and returning home.  The time for healing is upon the village people of Rwanda. If  this suffering country is to go forward with one heart, a healed and merciful heart, much prayer and forgiveness is needed.  Only prayer can win this spiritual battle. A worthy Lenten prayer intention!

Lent "Forgiving the Living"

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

“Remember, O man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return”

A Lenten reflection on “Forgiving the Living” a phrase used by Immaculee Ilibagiza in her own story:

Left To Tell, Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

Most of us struggle to forgive, finding it difficult to put aside our bumps and bruises.  We savor our wounds as though they give us pleasure. We are a strange lot.

Imagine, if you can, living with the memory of genocide.  Not a genocide across the world from you, but surrounding you; a genocide that includes your mother and father, your brothers, friends and all your neighbors in one way or another.  Imagine a genocide you can smell and touch and that touches you, that calls your name, hunts you and haunts you.

For thousands in the world today, that is the reality.  For one particular soul, Immaculee Ilabigiza, the author of  Left to Tell, this reality has sprouted wings.  She flies high above her small village in Rwanda living forgiveness, not as a half-hearted effort, but as a mission.  A dream, that she believes was given her by God, opened her heart to the world.  Her touch is one of grace and healing.  Immaculee was left behind to let us know that in order to truly be alive to Life, we can and must forgive by the living grace of God.

Lenten alms and charity

Lent Links

Lent is more than reading but reading can set the stage.

My own recommendation is Left To Tell, Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

Linking for Lent:

Fr.Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmacp:

The Word of God in the Life of Christ

The Spiritual Reading of the Bible

Happy Catholic: Julie’s Lenten Reading

The Anchoress:  Lenten Reading Suggestions

The Deacon’s Bench: Ash Wednesday Homily