Daily Masses will resume on Monday, June 15th. Details can be found here.
This is the weekend for our national combined collection to support Black and Indian Missions, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Communication Campaign, Catholic University of America, and the Fund for Religious Retirement. They are all very worthwhile causes. Because of circumstances, this year’s appeal will be done through mail and online. Please be as generous as possible. More information can be found here.
I would like to have written these thoughts for last week’s bulletin, but because the copy needs to be submitted so far in advance, it didn’t happen.
Remember back to the mass shooting at Miller-Coors on February 26th? The Salvatorian community house where I live is on 37th Street at the corner of Miller Lane. Miller Lane is a one block street, south of State Street, that goes into the Miller complex. The building where the shooting took place was back in that area, so our house was surrounded by police and SWAT team members.
Three of us were not at home when the lockdown started. I was here at Pius, Fr. Jim was at the Senior Center in Washington Park, and Simon was at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners. I decided to stay at Pius and did not attempt to go home until the next day. Both Fr. Jim and Simon parked their cars outside of the lockdown area and, by chance, each of them approached the lockdown at the same place: Wells and 37th Street. Fr. Jim pointed down the street and said, “I live there,” and they let him through. Simon did the same and he was refused entry several times, each time returning to his car to sleep or study a while longer. Finally, in the evening, Simon was allowed to come to our house.
Everything happening in our country made me remember this incident. Both men live in the same house. Both men ended up at the same checkpoint. Both had an I.D. that showed they really lived there. The difference? The only thing I can see is that Fr. Jim is White and Simon is Black.
This small incident underscores the systemic problem we have in this country. Black people are treated differently than White people. Our celebration of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ reminds us that each of us is a child of God, made in His image. As we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we BECOME His Body, the Body of Christ, which is the Church. As St. Paul says to the Galatians in 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. While prejudices and biases are part of our human condition, they are NOT Gospel values. We can’t be comfortable with them: we need to struggle to be aware of where they are nestled in our being and struggle to root them out.
I invite us to prayerfully reflect this week on our own biases and prejudices, being as honest with ourselves as possible, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the illustration from the New Yorker that accompanies this letter (below) states, recognition is the first step to doing something.
I end with a comment by Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso: To say, as all who eat from the table of the Eucharist should be able to say, that black lives matter is just another way of repeating something we in the United States seem to so often forget, that God has a special love for the forgotten and oppressed.
May God bless us and our country as we struggle to overcome our prejudices.