Obama Homily

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Yesterday the Toronto Star article ran in the paper about the various homilies and sermons being preached that reference the Obama inauguration.  Later in the morning Global TV came by to interview parishioners and video part of the homily. It made for an exciting morning around here.  Most of the homily is available at the Toronto Star website, but here is the complete text:

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time / 2009

The atmosphere in the United States is charged with electricity
as the Americans prepare to inaugurate their 44th President.
Obama-mania is everywhere.
The excitement is not only contained to the USA.
All over the world
people are full of joyful expectation.

What is it about Obama
that has the world buzzing?

First of all,
there is the rather obvious momentous election
of the U.S.’s first African-American President.
This is a liminal moment
in the history of the United States;
A time of change, healing and reconciliation
for a nation still feeling the scars of racial division.

There’s a kind of  “wow” quality to this moment,
that touches not only the people in the United States,
but affects all of us.
It gives us Hope.

“Change” and “Hope” were key words in the Obama campaign
and they resonated with ordinary people.
That’s the genius of Obama.
He’s been able to tap
into some of the deepest yearnings of the human person;
a yearning for a new beginning,
a fresh start;
a yearning for a more just and peaceful world;
a yearning for a more hopeful future.

Now don’t get me wrong,
all is not rosy with Mr. Obama.
His support for Abortion rights
is a major stumbling block for many of us.
We need to hold him
to his commitment to work
to reduce abortions, eliminate torture and promote social justice!

Obama is not only about Change and Hope,
but,  as he said on the night of his election,
he wants to call Americans to “Sacrifice”;
a word that is not popular in the US culture
nor in ours.
And yet people follow him!

People connect with Obama,
people want to follow Obama,
because he helps them connect
with something inside of them
which calls them to stretch,
to be more than they are now.

I believe
Obama’s vision helps people connect with their spiritual side.
I believe
that each one of us is “hard-wired”,
is built to be spiritual.
When someone helps us connect to that spiritual dimension
we become energized,
we come alive!

Today’s scripture readings
are all about people helping others
connect to the deepest longings of their lives.

In the first reading,
Samuel is having a hard time connecting with God,
and it’s Eli who tells him how to listen,
and how to respond
in order to make the connection with God.

In the Gospel,
it’s John the Baptist who sees Jesus walking by
and points him out to Andrew.
Andrew was with John the Baptist
because he was looking for something more out of life.
And John helps Andrew connect with Jesus,
who IS the “more” he is looking for.

Andrew, then in turn,
reaches out to his brother Simon,
and tells him about Jesus,
and helps him connect with the Messiah.

Eli, John the Baptist, Andrew,
each of these people
help others connect with their deepest longings.
They help connect others
with the One
who will bring about lasting Change and true Hope.
They help them connect with God.

You and I
are also called to be such connectors.
We are called to help people connect
not only with Hope,
but also with it’s foundations which is Faith.
And Faith and Hope are nothing,
if they’re not accompanied with Love, Charity…
…Faith and Hope in action!

The only way we can be such connectors,
is if we are ourselves,
are well connected to God.
We need to be true to ourselves
as members of the Body of Christ.

St. Paul challenges us in the second reading
to be people of integrity,
to be true to ourselves,
to be Temples of the Holy Spirit
on the inside and on the outside,
by what we say and by what we do.

On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration
we pray that he will have that integrity
to lead his people to their deepest yearnings.
Let us pray that each one of us will also have that integrity,
to be true to our calling as members of the Body of Christ,
to help people connect
with the one who will satisfy their deepest longings,
help them connect with God.

And as we do that,
let’s remember the words of St. Francis of Assisi:
Preach the Gospel always
but, only if necessary use words!


  1. Some of us are hoping and praying that President Obama changes his mind and does not sign FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, which would open up abortion on demand and which he promised Planned Parenthood he would do.

  2. President Obama continues to state his position in favour of “a woman’s right to choose”, but he did not overturn Bush’s policy of refusing funding to groups that include abortion in family planning services – yet. And, he did not, as some expected, issue an executive order overturning a Bush administration policy — the so-called Mexico City rule — that prevents US funding of foreign family planning and health groups if they provide abortion services.

    “While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

    “On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.”

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