Remember Nelson Mandela: A Homily

The following homily was given at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame on December 13th, 2013, on the occasion of a Mass of Justice and Peace in memory of Nelson Mandela.

How does one who spent twenty seven years of brutal imprisonment, emerge from that jail with one of the most endearing and genuine smiles the world has seen? How can one who suffered the most debasing and dehumanizing cruelties and injustices, forgive his jailers?How can one deprived of his freedom for so many years turn out to be one of the most free persons?These and similar questions have been on our minds since Thursday when we learnt of the passing of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. 

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Receiving Such One as This

He takes a child and put the child in their midst. If the disciples were talking amongst themselves, Jesus now puts a child in their midst – and right there provides the first lesson: conversation must not only be amongst yourselves. It must include such one as this.You must not only talk about the child, you must talk to and with such one as this. A community that includes the child, the weak, the vulnerable.

Read the full homily, available as a .pdf.