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Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Most Reverend Martin D. Holley


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we do so during the Octave of the Easter Season, where our readings today focuses on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and His appearance to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, in the breaking of the bread; the Holy Eucharist, where Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

It was my hope to be with you today as the celebrant and homilist at our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and as celebrant at St. Peter' Catholic Church, but many of you might already know, I am out of town for the funeral of my brother.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to offer a few words of reflection on the significance of this anniversary.

But first, let me begin by thanking Fr. Robert Marshall and Fr. Paul Watkins for sharing this very brief reflection on my behalf.

The assassination of Dr. King in this city was a horrific act of evil and and will be etched historically in our memory forever.

But we have to remember as Catholics, our Christian faith, and ultimately our Easter faith, reminds us that God in time, can and will take the most evil of acts, including our own and turn it on its head.

In other words, He can, will and is bringing good out of evil all the time. The whole Bible speaks to us about just that!

That is why He sent His Only begotten Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that it might be saved.

Our faith tells us that while Dr. King suffered death, he is very much alive in Christ, Jesus, like all of our deceased loved ones.

His legacy of non-violence lives on to this very day, but like Jesus' legacy, if we do not embrace it, we do so at our own peril.

Dr. King gave many sermons and speeches, nationally and internationally, and his style and delivery was exceptional.

He captivated his audiences and articulated the essence of the Sacred Scriptures by applying them to every day life, and he has left us a wealth of advice for all eternity and has asked that we apply them to our lives.

His message of Peace, Harmony and Justice, will continue to abide with us all forever, but the question that we all have to ask ourselves, is how well do we apply them today.

Every one of Dr. Kings sermons and speeches provide us with a template for the spiritual and social transformation of our lives, if only we embrace them.

In reflecting on the life and death of Dr. King and his non-violent movement during his 50th anniversary, we can conclude that there has been much constructive change, but for all of us, today, we know, there is still more that we can do to make life better for all people.

Yet, isn't that the very message of Jesus in today's gospel. Life can and will be different because of His resurrection from the dead.

But why was it so difficult for the disciples to recognize the Risen Lord? Because Jesus' death scattered His disciples hopes and dreams.

They saw the cross as a sign of defeat and could not comprehend the empty tomb, until He appeared to them on the Road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread.

Today as we remember and honor The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and reflect on his sermons and speeches, let us recommit ourselves anew to working for Peace, Harmony and Justice, by contemplating Jesus words and actions throughout this Easter Season at mass, which calls us to recognize and respect the dignity of His presence in each one of us. Amen.

Dec 07, 2018


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