World AIDS Day Reflection 2011

A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 40:3-5 (NRSV)

It must be a dream . . . we might hear that there is little probability, that “Zero” is impossible!

Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero Aids related deaths.

I must admit that it might seem dreamy indeed. I am sure that for a people in exile, for a people in the margins, for a people in despair the possibility of freedom seems out of reach. And that at times we might loose hope.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, one of the great saints of the Christian Church reminds us at times like this that we

must not despair.
If someone dies in the family,
we must not weep like people without hope.
If the skies have darkened in our nation’s history,
let us not lose hope.
We are a community of hope,
and like the Israelites in Babylon,
let us hope for the hour of liberation.
It will come.
It will come because God is faithful . . .

So today we gather here because we hope for the day of liberation, we hope for the improbable, we hope for the impossible.

This hope of ours is not centered on naivete or wishful thinking that somehow out of thin air, our goals and dreams for a day of no new HIV infections, a day of no more discrimination, a day of no more Aids related deaths will come.

Instead we gather here because we are fully aware that we are being called to make this reality possible, that we are being empowered as people of faith to make this reality possible, that God’s own power and strength will guide us out of exile into the place of promise. That it begins with us . . . all of us agents of ‘making the way,’ of clearing the path towards home . . .

By committing to educating all people about HIV and Aids and proclaiming healthy and responsible ways of life.

By confessing the ways that faith communities have at times been the leading voices of discrimination, misinformation, and fear.

By continuing our work of advocacy in the centers of power here and abroad so that all people can find healing and justice.

In doing these things, in committing in these ways we are living out the promise of a new day of a transformed society.

The Christian tradition is at the beginning of marking the season of Advent. This season makes us capable of being the people who are actively waiting, actively proclaiming, actively embodying the vision present in the scriptures, a vision of a redeemed society and as many theologians remind us, “an urgent expectancy of God’s final shalom,” God’s reign of justice, peace, righteousness, and reconciliation

I cannot think of a better time to gather here . . . as all us become prophetic voices who prepare, proclaim, and provide for a day when HIV/AIDS becomes a thing of history because we believe it is possible, because God is calling us to this new day and we will with passion, and dedication work tirelessly towards that day!



This is the text of my World Aids Day reflection shared at the Baton Rouge Interfaith Service of Hope & Remembrance 2011. For more information please go to http://www.worldaidsday.org.

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