Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm
One year after the earthquake that struck Haiti, we will be able to pray for the Church of Haiti, for the victims, for all those wounded or still experienced by this major catastrophe, for their families, their relatives, for the Haitian people and the Community of Haitians living in France.
This mass will be presided over by Bishop Xavier RAMBAUD, Episcopal vicar.
Homily of Cardinal Andre Twenty-three
pronounced at the mass of 16 January 2010
mass for the victims of the earthquake
Is 62, 1-5; PS 22; Cor 12, 4-11; John 2, 1-12
Brothers and sisters,
With all of you gathered here, together with the Apostolic Nuncio, whom I thank for his presence, with the bishops around me and the priests who accompany us, I wished that we would celebrate this Eucharist so that we could support one another others in faith. For our faith is severely challenged by this horrible disaster that struck Port-au-Prince and Haiti, sowing death and desolation, destroying and annihilating the possessions of so many people, cutting families, friends and relatives from each other and burying in death! How can survivors who have to cope with this situation be able to regain their feet in existence?
And all this happened in those weeks when the church celebrates the Nativity and manifestation of Christ. After having led us to worship Jesus in the Nativity scene of Bethlehem, after witnessing to us his manifestation to the Nations in his epiphany and his designation as the beloved son of the father in his baptism, the liturgy now proposes to our meditation the first sign accomplished by Jesus at the wedding of Cana. In John's Gospel, this episode is the sign of the eternal marriage Covenant between God and mankind that Jesus comes to accomplish.
But how can we welcome this manifestation of God in his power and mercy, when the elements strike blindly and cast death in your people? This is not a trivial question. This interrogation lives in every one of our hearts. Every Haitian, anyone who believes in God and who tries to live from this faith cannot be touched in the heart by the misfortune that destroys and by the curse that touches your country. All question: "where are you, Lord? What are you doing, Lord? »
Christ accepted the invitation to the wedding, he came to participate in this very simple family feast. But it is not only with men at times when everything is well. All his public life, his teaching and his miracles show that the son of God has made himself close to the poor, the sick and the sinners. Christ did not come to live a quiet life, but to bring hope to those who were in desolation. "For the inhabitants of the land of death a light has shone" (is 9, 1). And he shared our condition, not only in the daily joys and pains or through the tasks of his mission and the fatigue of days, but above all, in the offering he made of his life for the salvation of men. Christ who changes the water to wine in Cana is also the one who will deliver his body on the cross, and whose pierced heart shall let flow of water and blood, which the Christian tradition recognizes as the source of new life.
Whoever has changed the water of the old urns for the rite of purification of the Jews into new wine will give a new dimension to human existence. Christ does not come to make us escape from misfortunes, illnesses, accidents and death. He will know the misfortunes and death, he will rub shoulders with the sick. But the offering he makes of his life opens a path beyond the death by which we discern how what appeared to be a victory of death can become a source of life. The perpeties of our existences, the misfortunes that strike us and the death that catches us all at one time or another, can become the place where we are addressed a word of love and hope, but also an opportunity to question us about what we do e our life.
The misfortune that strikes those who are in Haiti will reach you cruelly, you who are so far away from yours, you who do not yet know what have become of your loved ones and who are consumed by anxiety. In this difficult time between all, it is beautiful that you give the testimony of your faith. It is beautiful that you are strengthened in faith, even in a fragile and shy way, to turn to the Lord with confidence. It is beautiful that you will go back to the maternal love of our Lady, whom you love to invoke under the name of our Lady of perpetual help. It is beautiful that you receive from her mouth the words she has spoken to the servants of the wedding, "do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2, 5).
Today, at the heart of your grief, through the tears you can shed, the anxiety that you inhabit and the uncertainty of the future, a flame continues to shine for you. It is the flame of hope. No, "your land will not be deserted, it will be named after a new one, the name of the bride" (is 62, 4). God makes an alliance with men of all countries, of all races and of all times. God is an alliance with the men and women of Haiti. He has sealed his Covenant with those who believe in him, and he offers it to those who do not yet believe in him. God will not abandon this people he loves. He supports it and will support it. As you know, we know that the coming years will be difficult years for Haitians. We will have to rebuild the buildings of course, but we will also have to work on this much deeper reconstruction of the shattered lives, the destroyed hearts, the interrupted love and the death... You must be convinced that Haiti can be relieved, that the life of Haitians is a testament to the future and that your faith allows you to overcome this gigantic ordeal and to engage your children and children of your children, towards hope and not in the misfortune and resignation.
Haitian brothers and sisters, tonight we wanted to pray with you. This common Act of faith is also a sign that we in France are being questioned by what happens to you. This drama provokes us and calls us to reconsider our way of life, to weigh the hope that we inhabit, and to share this challenge with you for Haiti to have a future. You've heard it on the air and on television, many have mobilized to bring a little help, no matter what. Many are sensitized and ready for an act of generosity to share with you this misfortune. May the Lord allow that this communion in suffering not only be the runaway of an instant under the effect of the publicity that is made to this tragedy! May this momentum extend long after the crisis period has been overcome! May we all not forget you and continue to be close to you to provide you with the necessary help! We are committed to it. During the coming lent, I will ask the Christians of Paris to offer a part of their offering for the reconstruction of the churches and houses of Haiti, because rebuilding a House is a sign of what lives also can be rebuilt and can give all their fruits.
Brothers and sisters, in faith, we turn to God. As we sang earlier, we can say: "I put my hope in the Lord, I am sure of his word." Amen.
† André Cardinal Twenty-three
Archbishop of Paris