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Homily for the Ten-Day Peace Period Mass in Saitama District



Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


At Kita-Urawa Church
11:00, August 15, 2015

Today is the day of celebration of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary was the first woman who was blessed by the Grace of the Resurrection of Jesus. Both her body and soul were ascended into the glory of Heaven at the end of her life. Let us pray with sincere hope for all human beings to be blessed by the same Grace as the Blessed Virgin Mary on Her Assumption.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is also called “Queen of Peace.” The life of the Mother Mary was a model of faith in God’s arrangement.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is a star of hope for human beings. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the merciful dispenser of God’s love. Today, on the last day of the Ten-Day Peace Period, let’s pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Assumption so that we may play a good role for peace.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the mountain as follows:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).
Realization of peace is not only the mission of all of us Christians, but also the responsibility for all human beings.

When I think about peace, there are two phrases coming up in my mind.
The first phrase is “the defenses of peace.” This is a famous phrase appears in the Constitution of UNESCO.
At the beginning of the Constitution, it is said as follows:
“That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed;
That ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war;” (UNESCO Constitution, 1964).
Suspicion, mistrust, anxiety, fear, hatred, hostility arise in minds of men from time to time. There are circumstances in this world that cause these spirits in our minds. That is the problem of evil covering this world, like poverty, discrimination, disparity, inequality of wealth, oppression and violation of power. These circumstances may trigger off wars. We need to make every effort to eliminate these sources of war.

Another phrase I remember is “disarmament of minds.” This phrase appears in the message ‘Resolution for Peace’ by the Bishops’ Conference of Japan:
“The peace we are aiming for is the peace founded upon the reconciliation between God and mankind, realized by the Crucifix and the Resurrection of Christ. …it is because that Christ, indeed, is the person who sets fire of love in the hearts of our humankind who are hating and separating each other due to sin, and makes disarmament of minds to be realized, heals wounded minds, and builds up the inner foundations for our unity as humankind and permanent peace.” (quotes from “Resolution for Peace”)

I’d like to hold this word “disarmament of minds” valuable.
Preparation is needed in order to build “the defenses of peace” and to make “disarmament of minds” in real. The environment needs to be arranged for that. Not only by praying, but also by practicing the spirits of praying, we need to cultivate the environment. We have to make effort to eliminate poverty, environmental destruction, violation of human rights and disparity, discrimination and so on.
Let’s keep on tackling with these tasks by praying for God’s help.

Today’s Holy Gospel is derived from the Song of the Virgin Mary, called “the Magnificat,” recited every day during the evening prayer of Christian Prayer “Liturgy of the Hours.”

1:51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
1:52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:51-53)

War is started by men of power. The Holy Bible teaches us that God admonishes misuse of power, and hopes us to use our power in turn for the poor and the oppressed.
War occurs also for resources. The resources in the world, as the blessing of God, must be shared with justice and love.
Let’s pray to respond to God’s wish, to be able to play a good role for the peace on earth.

[All the Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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