Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: March 26, 2019

Is it really as bad as it looks? Yes, it is. That is my worldview of our nation today. It’s bad and it is getting worse. We have somehow allowed our politics to be sacrosanct and our religion to become expendable. Our hatred over things of humanity, and of human differences, has allowed us to become a people divided and groups of hate to thrive. We are witnessing democrats digging in to the left, republicans leaning farther to their right, and people dying in the middle.

And, I can say with all certainty that it’s far worse down here where ministry is really done, where people are hurting and where lives are torn apart.  The ugliness you can see from shores some thousands of miles away in countries far from us, or on a few Washington politician’s faces is nothing compared to those we have made into largely undefinable, faceless, wave of malice, hatred, rejection, isolation, and bigotry.

From where I sit as a priest in a parish that wonderfully and willingly holds close the rejected of the world and those deprived on human touch, decency, food, and security; those without home, family, or support, this malignant sickness has a face, one that is far too familiar to me of late. We see it in the family member who reveals racism at our dinner table as we break bread. We find it in neighbors and former parishioners, who have completely abandoned the Jesus they claim faith in and chosen the vilest of idols.We find it in once pleasant neighbors who casually spew racist ideology as we meet on the sidewalk. It’s found in once childhood friends now uttering and spreading anti-immigrant filth on their social media profiles. It’s found in restaurant workers who receive hate in lieu of a tip at the end of meal. And, the antithesis of these is found in those who hold the highest offices of our land as they strive to build walls of hate, divide us on false ideology, and remove health care from the weakest among us.

So yes, it’s a time of staggering cruelty and the world is that bad; our nation is this bad. A land where we have witnessed hate crimes climb a staggering 226% in many places and fail to recognize the truth: Jesus loves everyone, even those you hate so much.

My bishop posted the wisest words this week, “Be teachable, You’re not always right.” But, are we teachable anymore of just hell bent on hate? It is time to reflect, change, pray and be what we want to all see in the world. If not, we will all surely fail.

How have we abandoned our morals so easily for idols that will soon fade? How will we ever make this up to those we harm with our words and kill with our hatred? Are we really a follower of Christ anymore?

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