The sin of racism has a long history of division. A history filled with a kind of hatred I have not known and I cannot understand. More than anything, a history so sinister and sly that if you aren’t paying attention you easily forget that it’s not history at all. It’s here in the present haunting and hunting and hurting others in subtle and systematic ways that perpetuate cycles of poverty, violence, and oppression.
The senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd demands understanding. Through his struggling gasps, the world heard his cry that bears the tears of countless unknown and untold instances of humankind’s history of racial hatred. It reverberated in cities throughout the world, sometimes as a growl of palpable anger and destruction – sometimes as a peaceful hum of hope and shared humanity. The clanging noise of division has been heard and the costs have been high. With it, though, is the quiet promise of hope that conversations about racism are leading to an unprecedented and long overdue conversion in our country – suffocating the sin of racism and breathing new life into love and unity with our neighbor.
Every day in countless small ways we choose what kind of change to affect in this world. Those choices matter. In the mundanity of our daily routine, we may sometimes forget how much this is so. We can’t reconcile our mistakes without first recognizing them. During the mass, we recite a prayer known as the Confiteor. “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do…” When it comes to social injustice collectively and individually, we have failed our brothers in sisters by both what we have done and what we have failed to do.
God created us to love one another. There weren’t any caveats or exclusions in his command. Somehow along the way, we messed this up. We have messed this up with people of different races, with those who have disabilities, with the elderly, the imprisoned, and the unborn. We mess up when we let our differences divide us. We mess up when we devalue life of any kind.
The great hope of our faith is offered through God’s inexhaustible mercy. It can fix any mess – even this one. Mr. Floyd’s cruel death epitomizes the world’s desperate need for compassion which is lacking in so many aspects of society. That people are angry about indifference and injustice can be a good thing when it is used constructively. It means we are ready for change. It means we want to do better for ourselves, our children, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Loving our neighbor isn’t a sing-song platitude to paste over the defiled issue of racism. It is the way of Christ. It is what we were created to do. It is at the core of every being. Only by embracing our core and our Creator’s example of unconditional love, do we have a shot at truly making racism history. Nothing short of a complete conversion will do and there’s no time like the present to begin.
I hope amidst all of the noise and all of the opinions that easily feel entangling right now, that each of us can see the hope of God that lingers on the cusp of this divisive issue. When we collectively convert our hearts to live by love and service to our neighbor, social injustices of all kinds will be eradicated. Until then, we must each do our part. ~ Lara
Read last week’s post here.