Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Dallas Influences Sermon at Topeka Fiesta's Opening Mass

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Dallas Influences Sermon at Topeka Fiesta's Opening Mass

Article excerpt

Given the recent race-related tragedies in the news, the sermon Sunday at the opening Mass of the Topeka Fiesta Mexicana had a deeper message than the usual Golden Rule one about treating fiesta- goers as parishioners would expect to be treated themselves.

The Gospel reading at the liturgy at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 201 N.E. Chandler, was the passage from St. Luke which contains both the "love your neighbor as yourself" commandment and the Good Samaritan parable with which Jesus taught how to put that admonition into practice.

"The commandment is simply this: To love and be loved. That is the greatest commandment: To love," the Rev. John Torrez, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 2700 S.E. Virginia, told the congregation of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, where he grew up.

Torrez was substituting for the Rev. Gerardo "Jerry" Arano- Ponce. Our Lady of Guadalupe's pastor was in Mexico representing Archbishop Joseph Naumann at the Rev. Agustin Martinez's first Mass in his hometown of Aguascalientes. Martinez, who was ordained May 28 a priest of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan., served Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish as a transitional deacon.

Torrez said the failure to follow God's commandment to love one another had consequences seen when a black sniper in Dallas shot 12 police officers, killing five, in delusional retaliation for the police shootings of black men across the country.

"That's why we have racism, prejudice and bigotry in this world because people cannot move away from the selfishness and the self- centeredness, and therefore cannot accept others who are different from them," Torrez said. "They will not accept those who look different, think different."

Saying that "every man, woman and child is made in the image and likeness of God," Torrez asked: "Do we actually believe when we get to Heaven our Lord is going to have separate sections there? Mexicans over here. The blacks over here. …

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