Cimply Putting It…
When will we ever learn?…Probably one of the greatest testimonies of the fact of original sin and how we fail to learn from our past, is the problem of racism in our world. Today it has rekindled in many of our cities in the USA. What has our history taught us? Have we really learned anything from our past?
Monday we honor Martin Luther King. If you ask somebody who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, or if you go by what you might hear or read in the media, you will probably be told that he was a great civil rights leader and social activist. This is true. But at the heart of it, Martin Luther King was a Christian pastor—he was an American Baptist Minister.
One of King’s favorite terms was what he called the “Beloved Community”. As he promoted justice, his goal was not to defeat his opponents, not to bring down the oppressors, but to bring about reconciliation. As a minister he often prayed for his enemies.
One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King comes from an essay he wrote called “The World House”. Here’s a part of it.
“Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: “A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together.” This is the great new problem of humankind. We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace…All inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors.”
Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people share in the goodness of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because human decency will not allow it. Racism, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. As early as 1956—I was just 4 years old—King spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal.
Some of King’s detractors like to point out that he was a human being, that he had faults, and human foibles. This is true. He was certainly not a saint. He made mistakes in judgment. He put his marriage to the test. He suffered from human facilities, like anxiety and depression. But Christianity proclaims a God who came to us as we are, accepted us as we are, forgave us and gave us new life, and thus revealed that we do not have to be perfect in order to be loved by God.
It is often in suffering where we come together. I remember a story of a news correspondent who told about a time when there was a bomb that exploded in Israel. Bloodied people were everywhere. A man came running up to the correspondent holding a little girl in his arms. He pleaded with him to take her to the hospital. As a member of the press he would be able to get through the security cordon that had been thrown around the explosion scene. They jumped into his car and rushed to the hospital. The whole time the man was pleading with the correspondent to drive faster. Sadly the little girl’s injuries were too great and she died in the hospital. When the doctor came out to give them the news the man collapsed in tears. The correspondent was lost for words. Finally he said, “I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I never lost a child.” But the man said, “Oh, no! That girl is not my daughter. I’m Israeli. She was Palestinian. But there comes a time when each of us must realize that every child, regardless of that child’s background, is a daughter or a son. There comes a time when we realize that we are all family.”
I wonder if I’ll ever see that time?
Two items for your consideration…First, if you have not yet scheduled a sitting for our new St. Michael pictorial directory, would you do so? You can schedule a time online on our Parish website or by calling the Parish office. Remember there is no cost to you and you receive a free picture and a new directory.
Second, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of our Diocese, Bishop Swain will be celebrating an all Diocesan Catholic School Mass at the arena this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. If your schedule permits, please join us. It is to celebrate Catholic Schools Week and Bishop Swain has always wanted to attempt to get all the Catholic School children in our Diocese together for a Mass. It promises to be a wonderful celebration.
I feel so privileged to be part of this great family of St. Michael Parish. We are called together each weekend. Called to follow the Lord together, called to live together in this Beloved Community. May it be so. Amen.
Make it a great week. clc