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Boston Memorial Service

Aired April 18, 2013 - 11:30   ET


REV. ROBERTO MIRANDO, SR. PASTOR, CONGREGATION LEON DE JUDA, ROXBURY: Good morning. This morning, the words of Psalm 125, Verse 3, have a particular resonance. For the sector of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous so that the righteous may not stretch out their hands to do wrong.

As we have confirmed so graphically this week, wickedness does exist in this world. But we are reminded by scripture that God has put a hedge of limitation around it. It may manifest itself for a moment, but then it has to relinquish the field to a higher, nobler power, who is in ultimate control. This is why we come together in a time like this, as people of faith. To go beyond the immediate dimension of terror, death and loss, and to elevate our eyes to that sacred sphere, to place this terrible tragedy in higher context, in a brighter light that can redeem it and infuse it with elements of hope, love and unity. If we could not gravitate to that dimension, where infinite good sits on his throne, at this very moment gazing lovingly upon this city, grieving for and with us and those who have literally lost life or limb, then perhaps evil would have achieved the victory that it sought so fruitlessly on Patriots Day.

But we are people of faith. We believe in a benevolent God who holds a steady hand over history. Even as he allows hatred and fanaticism to have its moment, it's also declared time and time again due to the many voices of millennial faiths that, in the end, goodness will always prevail. Yes, weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Events such as the one that graced us on that bright Monday afternoon just a couple of days ago remind us that we inhabit a mysterious world where a loving, sovereign God sometimes allows a flash of dark energy to penetrate our domain. But only to ennoble us and to extract from us an even greater measure of good and generosity. The dilemma of evil is that even as it carries out its dark, sinister work, it always ends up strengthening good. And invoking even more strongly the very light that it so desperately tries to extinguish.

We have all been inspired by the images and anecdotes of heroism and the just plain goodness that have already emerged from the first few hours of this unspeakable tragedy. This crucifixion has released much good. In our weakness, we have been made strong. In our suffering, we have been inspired to pray for others. In our woundedness, we have extended consolation. In our diversity, we have been united. In our perplexity, we have been led again to run to God and to remember that no matter how strong, fast or successful we may be, we are ultimately children of eternity, able to find true hope and solace only in the bosom of our father, in the realm of prayer and spiritual humility. In that paradox of weakness that we have entered into, we can become more gracious and more powerful. Better channels for the grace of God to enter into this broken world. This is a small, immediate comfort, of course, to those who lie right now in a hospital bed, contemplating a life that has been irrevocably changed or who grieve a loss or loved one. We pray also they receive the grace to look beyond this moment of suffering and to believe that their life is far from over. That they can rise beyond their pain and their loss to become spiritually stronger and more agile. That they can find fullness of life and happiness and personal realization in the new normal that they now inhabit. May they never allow bitterness or hatred to linger more than a brief moment in their soul. May they receive that peace that passes all understanding. May they be able to translate into their own spiritual language the assuring words of the Apostle Paul. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, for your sake, we are killed all day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet, in all these things, we are more than conquers through him who loved us.

God's love will yet have the last word. God has not forsaken Boston. God has not forsaken our nation. He merely weaves a beautiful, bright tapestry of goodness that includes a few dark strands.

By faith, we will leave this sacred space today to continue that noble narrative of patriotism, self-sacrifice and simple striving that was only briefly interrupted by impotent evil, but that now continues richer, denser and more poignant than ever. May our face be strengthened, that we might leave from here with this conviction, God bless us all. Amen.


BISHOP JOHN BORDERS, III, MORNING STAR BAPTIST: I went up to the mountain, because you asked me to up over the clouds, to where the sky was blue I could see all around me, every everywhere, I could see all around me, everywhere some days I look down, afraid I will fall, and though the sun shines around me I see nothing at all telling me softly, you love me so

To our courageous president, to our compassionate governor, to our mighty mayor, to all of you, Matthew, Chapter 5. Now, when we saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain side and sat down. His disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying, blessed are the poor in spirit. For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad. Because great is your reward in heaven. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you, beloved, I believe Jesus taught that to perceive the Kingdom of Heaven, you must see the opposite. When you see loss, see reward. When you hear a cry of pain, hear a prayer. When you see sacrifice, see a sacred offering. And to those of you who have suffered in any type of suffering wherever you might be, the Lord is saying to you, never lose sight of your future. You who mourn, you will be comforted. You who are broken, you will be healed. You who have suffered loss, you will be rewarded.

The Massachusetts license plate says "The spirit of America." And I pray the world right now, today, at this moment, will look at us and see the true spirit of America.

SEAN PATRICK O'MALLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BOSTON: My dear brothers and sisters, tear friends, on behalf of our catholic community, I wish to welcome all of you here to the cathedral of the holy cross. It's an honor to have our president, our governor, and our mayor here with us this morning. We're so grateful to Governor Patrick for initiating this ecumenical prayer service. We're delighted that Metropolitan Methodius and Reverend Liz Walker and all of the many leaders from the various churches and faith communities could join us here today.

Our holy father, Pope Francis, asked me to communicate to you his sentiments of love and support. The Holy Father invokes God's peace upon our dead, consolation upon the suffering, and God's strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. The Holy Father prays that we will be united in the resolve, not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good, working together to build an evermore just, free and secure society for generations to come. This year's Patriots Day celebrations were marred by an act of senseless violence that's caused all of us great shock and pain. It has made us relive the horror of September 11th. And is a stark reminder of the darkness that can lurk in the human heart and produce such evil. And yet the same tragedy has brought us together as a community like nothing else ever could. The generous and courageous response of so many assures us that there resides in people's hearts a goodness that is incredibly selfless. We saw that when summoned by great events, we can be remarkably committed to the well-being of others, even total strangers. We become a stronger people, a more courageous people, a more noble people. The police, emergency workers, and even bystanders and passersby did not hesitate to put themselves in harm's way to help the injured and the frightened.

Our presence here today is an act of solidarity, first of all with those that lost their lives, and we are so happy that Krystle Campbell's family is here in the cathedral with us. We are also in solidarity with those injured in the explosion and wish to express our desire to support them and their families and loved ones.

This Patriots Day shakes us out of our complacency and indifference and calls us to focus on the task of building civilization that is based on love and justice. We do not want to risk losing the legacy of those first patriots who were willing to lay down their lives for the common good. We must overcome the culture of death by promoting a culture of life. A profound respect for each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God. We must cultivate a desire to give our lives in the service of others.

Last week, I was in Galilee with 30 priests from Boston on retreat. There we prayed and listened to the very gospel that was read for us here this morning. The Sermon on the Mount is a description of the life of the people gathered by and around the Lord. Often in the Gospels, we can see the contrast between the crowd and the community. The crowd is made up of self-absorbed individuals, each one focused on his or her own interest, in competition with the conflicting projects of others. A community is where people come to value each other, to find their own identity in being part of something bigger than themselves, working together for the common good. The Sermon on the Mount in many ways is the constitution of the people called to live a new life. Jesus gives us a new way to deal with offenses by reconciliation. Jesus gives us a new way to deal with violence by nonviolence. He gives us a new way to deal with money by sharing and providing for those in need. Jesus gives us a new way of dealing with the gifts of every person each one the child of God.

In the face of the present tragedy, we must ask ourselves what kind of a community do we want to be. What are the ideals that we want to pass on to the next generation? It cannot be violence, hatred and fear. The Jewish people speak of repairing the world. God has entrusted us with precisely that task, to prepare -- repair our broken world. We can no do it as a collection of individuals. We can only do it together as a community, as a family. Like every tragedy Monday's events are a challenge and opportunity for us to work together with the renewed spirit of determination and solidarity and with the firm conviction that love is stronger than death. May ours be the sentiments of St. Francis of Assisi who prayed, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me so love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life, amen.


DEVAL PATRICK, (D), GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: In my faith, tradition scripture teaches in everything give thanks. That isn't always easy to do. On Monday afternoon, I was not feeling it. What I felt, what so many of us felt then was shock and confusion and anger. But the nature of faith I think is learning to return to the lessons even when they don't make sense, when they defy logic. And as I return to those lessons this week I found a few things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for the firefighters and police officers and EMTs who ran toward the blasts not knowing whether the attack was over and the volunteers and other civilians who ran to help right alongside them. I'm thankful for the medical professionals, from the doctors and trauma nurses to the Housekeeping staff to the surgeon who finished the marathon and kept on running to his operating room all of whom performed at their very best. I'm thankful for the agents from the FBI and the ATF, for the officers from the state police and Boston P.D., for the soldiers from the National Guard and all other law enforcement personnel who both restored order and started the methodical work of piecing together what happened and who's responsible. I'm thankful for Mayor Menino who started Monday morning -- (APPLAUSE)

Mayor Menino started Monday morning frustrated he couldn't be at the finish line this time as he always is. And then late that afternoon checked himself out of the hospital to help this city -- our city -- face down this tragedy. I'm thankful for those who have given blood to the hospitals, money to the one fund and prayers and messages of consolation and encouragement from all over the world. I'm thankful for the presence and steadfast support of the president and first lady, our many former governors who are here.

Thank you.


I'm thankful for the other civic and political leaders who are here today and for the many, many faith leaders who have ministered to us today and the days since Monday. I'm thankful for the lives of Krystle and ling and little martin and the lives of the families who survived them and for the lives of all the people who but who still woke up today with the hope of tomorrow. And I am thankful maybe most especially for the countless numbers of people in this proud city and this storied commonwealth who in the aftermath of such senseless violence let their first instinct be kindness. In a dark hour so many of you showed so many of us that darkness cannot drive out darkness, as Dr. King said, only light can do that.

How very strange that the cowardess unleashed on us should come on marathon day, on Patriots Day, a day that marks the unofficial end of our long winter hibernation and the first battle of the American Revolution.