Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I write this week’s column (Tuesday morning) with our nation in turmoil. As if the enormous problems caused by a tiny virus were not enough, riots rage across our country. If we say nothing, or if we pretend that nothing is wrong or that things are being “blown out of proportion,” then we are missing a crucial part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, He who should always be our first allegiance. Would Jesus say nothing? Would He not care that a group of people are hurting? He would not condone violence, of course. But we must not let that truth overshadow the roots of this longer-lasting pandemic – historic racism.
Resentment and anger are here at present because a man was killed ultimately over twenty dollars. The problem, however, goes much deeper. A great many of our African-American brothers and sisters feel marginalized. This includes a good number of our own parishioners. As disciples, we need simply first to acknowledge this fact because it’s real and seek for ways to bring peace, harmony, and unity.
I’ve mentioned before that we must accept the reality that a great many alive today not just remember but lived under truly unjust laws – the Jim Crowe laws, a racial caste system operating in our nation from 1877 to the mid-1960s. As one person put it, “Jim Crowe was more than a series of rigid antiblack laws. It was a way of life.” Many people were content with a “separate but equal” motto. Imagine being on the other side of that thought pattern and the spiritual and even emotional harm that it could bring living under these laws. Imagine being told by law to go through another door (the back or side door), or to use a different bathroom or water fountain (because you have “different germs”), or to sit in a different section (never the good or convenient one), if you’re even allowed inside at all. Whether we are willing to accept it or not, the reality is that we have inherited the aftermath of this “way of life” that wasn’t very long ago.
Friends, we are disciples of Jesus Christ. Someone is hurting, in this case an entire group of people and many of our parishioners and potential parishioners. You and I must – absolutely must – do what we can to be another Christ to them. Let us start by letting our African-American brothers and sisters know we care that they are hurting and that we want to help. The peace we are looking for starts with you and me acting as disciples of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives – all of our words, thoughts, and actions. This is possible… with God. “With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (St. Matthew 19:26).
I write this week’s column also with hope as our beloved St. Mary’s School graduates a wonderful and diverse 8th grade class. Our youth give me such hope. Pray for these wonderful young men and women, the present and future of our Church and nation.
Holy Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!
Father WilsonBACK TO LIST