On July 10 we will mark the 45th anniversary of our country’s Independence. It is a significant milestone. Forty-five years is sometimes seen as a symbol of the mid-life crisis and being “over the hill”. It is a time if we want to continue to mature, that we need to honestly look at ourselves. Such an opportunity is afforded us as a people, as a family of islands and as individual persons, as we commemorate our 45th anniversary. It is time for us to stop and reflect on our current situation.
The readings appointed for July 10th in all our Catholic Churches throughout the world comes from Hosea 8: 4-7, 11-13 and Matthew 9: 32-38. They are most appropriate. The Word of God, we believe, is always on target.
“When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” — Matthew 9:36-38.
Do not these words describe our country’s present situation?
There is a need for deep healing, grieving, forgiveness, reconciliation, beseeching and allowing the Lord to heal our wounds.
The Gospel for July 10 is precisely about Jesus’ compassion and his healing the wounds, sins, and pains of the people. We are the people! Over and over again it has come to me that our country urgently needs deep divine healing. Most individuals and families in our country have been profoundly touched by some sort of tragedy; touched by the violence that has invaded our spirits and altered our lives. Beloved, we are in need of healing. If we do not have our wounds transformed, we transmit them. We are in need of calling upon the Lord’s mercy. We cannot go on, or mature as individuals or as a people unless we consciously, deliberately and humbly allow ourselves to acknowledge our wounds and our grief, and to open ourselves to the transforming power of healing. Our country needs to cry and to weep. The pain is as real as life itself. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and he weeps over our Bahamaland.
As a nation we need to stop and get in touch with the pain within us. We must pray together, choose to forgive and whenever possible, open ourselves to what the Lord can do within us. His capabilities are beyond our limited imaginations. Just as the rain cleanses, purifies, and gives new life and freshness to our environment, so can our tears and God’s loving mercy heal and cleanse our hearts, our families, our neighborhoods, us as individuals and our very Bahamaland. We need humbly, as a people and a family of islands, to open ourselves to such a moment as our 45th anniversary of nationhood affords us.
God created us a beautiful and diverse people. He gave us a very lush, rich, and beautiful Bahamaland. However, we are experiencing the devastation of chaos in our lives.
Our God is in the business of changing chaos into a new creation, as he did on the cross when he wept over us, and by his resurrection he gave us new life. He can lead us from the chaos of the present to a new creation, but we need to open ourselves humbly and trust him. We must allow him do what he alone can do and does best — heal. That is why he came among us, precisely as the savior, which means, healer. What is our response as individual persons, as a people loved by the Lord and who belong to each other in this our Bahamaland?
May I offer a prayer for our country: God of our family, we praise and adore you, our Creator. Thank you for creating us in your image, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the divine family. We thank you for the grace of belonging to you and each other. We are grateful for the many blessings that come to us as family. Forgive us for the sins we have committed against each other — neglect, abuse, abandonment, impatience. Help us to forgive those members of our family, including ourselves who have caused us pain and suffering. Lord, heal the deep scars within us. We have all been deeply wounded by our history. Recreate our families, O Father, in our Bahamian family of islands. Show us how to accept and appreciate ourselves, and each other. Recreate us Lord. Make us again like you, that we may recommit ourselves to building a better world of families according to the wisdom of your kingdom. This prayer we make through Christ our Lord. Amen. A blessed and hope-filled anniversary to you all.
— Monsignor Preston Moss