Second Sunday of Advent 2017
Fr Bruno Cadoré, O.P., Master of the Dominican Order, has requested that each December will be a Dominican Month for Peace. As announced at Mass last Saturday, Fr Bruno asks that this year’s focus be on Colombia. After more than 50 years of confrontation and violence, a second peace accord was signed there in September of 2017, just two days before the visit of Pope Francis. For several decades our Dominican brothers and sisters have accompanied local communities affected by conflict. One of their areas of accompaniment is Catatumbo in northeastern Colombia, a region that has suffered massacres, displaced people, and thousands of acres of devastated land.
A female community leader, age 65, Village of Caño Raya, Catatumbo, writes: “I was a very damaged woman by that conflict, it turns out that they killed my brother, they took one of my daughters and I had to leave…everything I had…what hurts me the most was the disappearance of my daughter and the death of my brother - every day I cry…the paramilitaries killed him, and I was left alone responsible for my mother and now I am responsible for my sister and I live alone…it’s a conflict that I do not want to ever repeat again.”
Hear this evening’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah at chapter 40:
“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God…Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! ... Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
As our liturgy gives us Isaiah’s powerful words, let us hear them with the people of Colombia, and of the region of Catatumbo, held close to our hearts. "Give comfort to my people, says your God…cry out at the top of your voice: Here comes the Lord God…Like a shepherd he feeds his flock.” Hear, O God, this prayer made by your people gathered today in this Dominican holy place in Houston. You are our shepherd. Comfort the people of Colombia who have suffered, and who do suffer, so much. Give to them and to their land your gift of peace. Open our own hearts and minds more each day to become conscious of the plight of the oppressed. Help us to hear what your prophet proclaims, and to see ever more clearly ways that we can choose to be companions of peace. This evening, as we pray the words of Psalm 85, let us ourselves also say: “I will hear what God proclaims, … for God proclaims peace to God’s people.” (Ps 85:9)