TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME — Year C

Second Reading:

A reading from Daniel Berrigan, S.J., from excerpts read in court during their trial at Catonsville, Maryland, May 17th, 1968.

Our apologies good friends for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper (instead of children), the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house.  We could not –so help us God — do otherwise.  For we are sick at heart.  Our hearts give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning Children.

All of us who act against the law turn to the poor of the world: to the Vietnamese, to the victims, to the soldiers who kill and die for the wrong reasons — for no reason at all, because they were so ordered by the authorities of that public order, which is in effect a massive institutionalized disorder.

We say:  Killing is disorder.  Life and gentleness and community and unselfishness are the only order we recognize.  For the sake of that order, we risk our liberty, our good name.  The time is past when good men may be silent, when obedience can segregate men from public risk, when the poor can die without defense.

How many, indeed, must die before our voices are heard?  How many must be tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened?  How long must the world’s resources be raped in the service of legalized murder?  When, at what point will you say no to this war?

We have chosen to say — with the gift of our liberty, if necessary our lives:

The violence stops here!  The death stops here!  The suppression of the truth stops here!  This war stops here!

In a time of death, some people — the resisters, those who work hardily for social change, those who preach and embrace the unpalatable truth — such people overcome death. Their lives are bathed in the light of the resurrection.  The truth has set them free. In the jaws of death– they proclaim their love of the brethren. We think of such people, in the world, in our nation, in the churches; and the stone in our breast is dissolved.  We take heart once more.

The Words of Daniel Berrigan.