Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 5, 2002
Be agents of reconciliation, not division
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Despite Americans in the audience, Calgary's Bishop Frederick Henry boldly said, "What is going on in Afghanistan is not going to work."
Focusing on reconciliation during a July 26 World Youth Day catechesis, Henry outlined how to be salt of the earth and light of the world, with a social justice flavour.
"We cannot solve these problems by violence. What we need to do is to see the underlying reason of injustice," Henry told the small crowd of 100 pilgrims.
"We can continue to bomb Afghanistan, but maybe we can look at how to improve lives of Afghans.," he urged.
Henry told the pilgrims that being salt and light is embedded in being agents of reconciliation --not of division -- in the world. In the world, "some are unduly penalized while some are unduly privileged," he said.
"All of us are co-responsible to God."
Californian Noelia Sousa agreed with Henry and said, "Bishop Henry opened a great vision that we have to open our minds to what actually is going on in the world."
The 47-year-old agreed with Henry's comment on terrorism again when the bishop related such to Ireland's experience.
"Totally I agree. We cannot solve anything with war.
"We have to get to the bottom of why all this is happening."
In his talk, Henry also underlined how Christian discipleship is a call towards being healers and reconcilers for others.
"The Lord will ask us how we served the interest of widows, orphans and foreigners, he said.
Illustrating the divide between the upper class and the lower class, he criticized NAFTA, saying, "In North America, we want to buy cheap and sell up.
"I am not so sure if we are being altruistic with the way we deal with the people (of the south)."
The bishop also told how poor Albertans suffer the same plight of marginalization by its provincial government.
The G-8 summit was held last month in his diocese, and he criticized "the IMF, which forces poor nations to take away money for health and education in order to service their international debts.
"We have made the economy idolatrous gods," said the bishop.
"If we are to be agents of reconciliation, we have to address this."
And he urged the pilgrims, "Please be salt and light of the world and do not be afraid."
Prior to Henry's talk, participants in the catechesis, mostly from the U.S. and Mexico, with a scattering from Montreal, divided into groups of six and reflected on their experiences of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Some said, "It is difficult to admit one's sin to oneself, how much more to tell them to somebody else?"
Others mentioned how it makes them feel better when they are able to articulate what was bothering them.
Some of the pilgrims regard reconciliation as coming home to God, just like in the parable of the prodigal son.
With a prayerful atmosphere, the sharing led to Henry's reflection and ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.