‘No more violence!’ cries bishop after crime wave in Mexican border town 

Bishop Lira Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcía celebrates Mass on June 23/ Official Twitter

In the midst of the crime wave hitting Reynosa, Mexico, the bishop of Matamoros has cried out “no more violence” and urged crime gang members to convert.

Reynosa is situated on the far eastern section of the U.S. border with Mexico, and is part of the diocese of Matamoros. 

At a June 23 evening Mass, offered especially for the victims of a recent mass shooting and for their families, as well as for peace in the border region, Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcía said that “now many Reynosa families accompanied by friends, neighbors and companions are burying their loved ones with great grief.”

“Reynosa has lost several of her unique children! Unique, because each and every one of us is unique and unrepeatable," he stressed.

“And who has taken from us those children, brothers, parents, friends, neighbors and companions, unique and unrepeatable? Selfish and inhuman violence,” he continued.

On June 19, an armed gang that may have been tied to drug trafficking murdered 15 civilians at random, in shootings of taxi drivers, a nurse, merchants and even older adults in Reynosa.

Four people allegedly connected to the crime gang also died after a confrontation with local authorities.

The Mexican website Animal Político reported June 23 there were new shootings and victims in Reynosa since the June 19 rampage.

Speaking to W Radio, Irving Barrios Mojica, attorney general of the state of Tamaulipas - which includes Reynosa and Matamoros - said that “the growing hypothesis” is that the violence stems from "an alliance of two factions to take away territory from a third faction.”

“In this area, in this territory, is the Pharr bridge, one of the most important international bridges in the state of Tamaulipas and in the country,” Barrios said, in possible allusion to the U.S. illegal drug market.

Bishop Lira lamented in his June 23 homily, "How much harm, how much pain and how much destruction we cause when, closed up within ourselves, we allow ourselves to be deceived by sin” and make false generalizations.

“Then, dazzled by money and power, we desperately search for them, believing that there is nothing else, risking one’s own life and passing over the life, dignity and rights of others,” the bishop said.

“Those who act like this are actually dead. Their mortal sins, as St. Bede says, have them locked up in a coffin,” he added.

However, Bishop Lira stressed, “Jesus, who leads us to the peace of God, is here. He is passionate about what happens to us. He draws near to us.”

The Lord, he continued, “consoles us through his Word, the Liturgy, the Eucharist, prayer and people, making us see that with Him life does not end.”

The bishop of Matamoros pointed out that “not everything ends on this earth. There is something else! Something infinitely great and wonderful: life forever happy with God. Life that Jesus has given us with the power of love; loving to the point of becoming one of us and giving his life.”

“Thanks to him, our deceased, who have reached the goal, the house of the Father, one day they will be clothed again with their skin and in the flesh they will see God. And we will be with them to be happy forever!”

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The bishop of Matamoros pointed out that “only love is capable of conquering sin, evil and death, and of making good and life triumph forever.”

“With Jesus, as a family and as a society, let us approach those who, seduced by crime and violence, are in the deadly coffin of sin, and let us restore them to a new life,” he exhorted the faithful.

“To all of them we say: Arise! No more violence! You can change. Although what’s been done is done, it’s always possible to improve and make restitution in some way for the harm that has been done,” he said.

The Mexican prelate asked the criminals to “allow Jesus to resurrect them and return them to the unity of his family. We are all his family, because we are all brothers, children of the same God!”

“It pains us to see them living yet dead by causing so much harm. But today they can turn our sadness into joy, and our sorrow into hope. Today they can make Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico and the world a better place for everyone,” he said.

“For you, for yours and for everyone, do it! Don’t remain in the darkness of death! Rise to life!” Bishop Lira urged.

 

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