BLOOMINGTON. CHARLOTTESVILLE. WOUNDS THAT RUN DEEP.
Those of you who read this page know that I end it each week with a reflective snippet. This week it’ll be a bit longer than a snippet. That’s because this past week we were confronted in Charlottesville, VA with a particularly horrible reminder of a deep wound that exists in our country. That wound is racism. A week prior to that came a reminder of a related wound, that of xenophobia and religious intolerance in the form of a bombing at a mosque in Bloomington. When we fail to call sins like these by name, we give them more power to infiltrate our common lives. Failing to speak the truth about the reality of these sins can also help us to brush them aside without resisting them. Nelson Mandela once wrote, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion...People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love...For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” I believe that’s true; I hope you agree.
Some say that a faith community is not the place to concentrate on social justice issues. By my very presence on staff here at Guardian Angels, this community has chosen to reject that opinion. This community of believers acts in common on a whole host of social justice issues – in our local communities and around the world. What a faith community ought to be about is supporting, empowering and challenging each other to remember, celebrate and imitate the life of Jesus Christ. The remembering and the celebrating can sometimes come easier to us than the imitating. The Samaritan woman at the well. The tax collector. The Pharisee. The outcast, the weak, the scared, the faithless, the sinner. All these and more Jesus embraced and dined with and called friend. Exclusion? Fear? Prejudice? Violence? Jesus rejects those things without exception. If we claim the name Christian, we cannot do otherwise in our own time and place. The ugliness we saw in Bloomington and in Charlottesville cannot be named as anything but utterly contrary to the example of Jesus.
This week, I invite us all to think about what we can do to resist that ugliness in all its forms. As Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor and author has said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race or religion that place must become the center of the universe.”
For more information about anything you read here, or any of the justice and outreach ministries at Guardian Angels, contact Suzanne Bernet, Justice and Outreach Coordinator, at 651-789-3181 or
Amidst all the possible ways for each of us to respond to what confronts our country, I invite all to consider two very specific things.
- First, please register for a free evening of inspiration and community-building with Fr. Bryan Massingale, professor at Fordham University, moral theologian and leading Catholic voice on racial justice. We will be gathering at St. Catherine University on Wednesday, September 20, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. The link for pre-registration is now available. Please go to http://bit.ly/2tTWlbr to register. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required and space is limited.
- Secondly, please also consider joining us for the Fall session of GA READS, our newest adult formation opportunity. If you joined us for last spring’s session of GA READS, you already know what a great opportunity this is both for formation and for fellowship and we hope you can return. If you weren’t able to participate, here’s your chance! Our next session starts on Wednesday, September 27. There will again be both morning and evening opportunities to fit a variety of schedules. Plan to be there September 27 and October 4, 11 and 18 as we share a series of readings and reflections on race and faith. Mark your calendars now and watch for registration information coming very soon.