Last night I presided at the Celebration of the Word with Communion in the main church in Dulce Nombre. Every Thursday they have Adoration of the Eucharist all day and a Mass or Celebration of the Word in the evening.
It is a custom here to celebrate birthdays at the end of Mass, including their names in the intentions. I was given a note with two males with the same last names. There was also the name of another male with the same last names among the deceased. I wondered if the two celebrating birthdays were twins and if the deceased was their father.
The two men celebrating birthdays were young men in their twenties. I had seen the spouse of one of them at Mass in Dulce Nombre before. They had been born two years apart and both were celebrating this week.
But the shock was that the deceased was their younger brother who had been murdered last week in one of the major cities of Honduras.
After the celebration I apologized for not being sensitive enough. But I told them to still celebrate – in the face of the murder of their brother. Then I said something like this.
We cannot give in to the power of death by not celebrating. By celebrating life, your birthdays, you are saying to death. We cannot let the power of evil prevail by refusing to celebrate. Celebrating life is a Yes to life, to God – and a powerful No to evil and to the Evil One.
I don’t know where these words came from, pure grace. But the more I meditate on this the more I become convinced that the power of the Risen Christ and the celebration of life is central, a way not to let evil overwhelm us. For the powers of evil, “the principalities and powers” of this world, want to take away our hope.
Celebrating life is a powerful antidote.