“Tonight we celebrate the opening Mass of the 2016 Fortnight for Freedom, returning to this, the first Cathedral in the United States, a Cathedral that was under construction even as “a new nation conceived in liberty” began to take shape. But we are not here tonight to argue a point of constitutional law nor are we here to re-argue what has already been persuasively argued in our courts. No, we are here to honor the martyrs, to celebrate the freedom to bear witness, beginning with Jesus Christ, “the faithful witness” of the Father’s love (Cf. Rev. 1:5), for Christ and his sacrificial love are the very heart of the Eucharist we celebrate.
“The Lord Jesus bore witness to his Father’s love in many ways. As the Word Incarnate, he proclaimed the Good News. As the Divine Physician, he healed the sick and raised the dead. And at length, when the hour of his own death had come, he was brought before Pilate who asked him, “Are you a king?” (John 18:37) Jesus stood in that tribunal, which represented the authority of Caesar, not a rabble-rouser seeking confrontation with the state but rather as the very personification of the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:1-12a) he once proclaimed on the mountainside. He came before Pilate in the sovereign freedom of the Father’s love: poor in spirit with few possessions and no visible means of defense; full of sorrow and anguish for our sins; meek and mild, the Lamb of God, seeking only the Father’s will; a man of singlehearted love who came to bring us the peace of God’s kingdom, and who was now being persecuted for the sake of righteousness. This is the Christ who stood before Pilate: at once meek and invincible. No decision Pilate could render would deter him from his mission. Caesar could not touch the things of God. (Cf. Mark 12:17)”
Read the complete homily HERE.