Father’s Column – June 7, 2020

Posted on June 7, 2020 View all news

Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ! 

Please note that there is an error in the printed bulletin and the 9:30 a.m. Mass at Old St. Mary’s starts at 9:00 a.m. for the Eucharistic Procession for Corpus Christi. Confessions will either be very short or unable to be heard before Mass. There will also be a Eucharistic Procession on Thursday for the actual Feast of Corpus Christi. Mass will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This past week has been a difficult week for our city and our nation. As I preached on Pentecost, the Feast of Pentecost was God’s and the Church’s clear statement against racism. After cowering in the upper room, the Apostles were emboldened to go forth into the streets and preach the Gospel. They preached not just to the Jews, but to all men and races. They all went to the far corners of the globe seeking to bring the Gospel to each person. That has become the mission of the Church, so that all men may know that they have a God who not only loves them and created them, but also a God who suffered and died for them.

The Gospel message knew no boundaries because all men have the right to know Jesus Christ. God has given an inherent dignity to all men, having created them in His image and likeness. We are each, in some small way, a living icon of God. If we can’t love what we see, as St. John the Evangelist in his first epistle 4:20, how can we love a God that we can’t see? 

Racism has no place in the Christian faith. The missionaries tirelessly sought to bring the faith to the far reaches of the world. While some instances in history would appear to tarnish the reputation of our missionaries, by and large, they sought to defend the dignity of the people they served. We can consider the example of St. Damien of Molokai, who ministered to the leper colonies. We can consider the example of St. Martin de Porres, who himself was discriminated against for being of mixed race and who sought to serve those in the streets regardless of race. We can consider the example of the American St. Katherine Drexel, who gave away her riches to establish schools for the education of Native Americans and African Americans.

There are countless other examples of faithful Catholics who have gone before us and recognized the dignity of each person. More importantly, they sought to tell each person of Jesus Christ. May we follow after their examples.

Race, inequality, the poor, all of these things will always be with us. Our Lord Himself told us this. We are ultimately called to ensure that we are working out our salvation in fear and trembling, as our first and foremost task. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to work for a more just world and strive to see each person’s dignity. Whether it is the most wealthy and smartest person or the poorest and illiterate person. While we ought to ensure our laws are just, we must do what Cardinal Newman would encourage us and let heart speak to heart. The world will only change when hearts change. Laws, policies, and administrations change all the time. The policies of politicians are fickle. For lasting change, on issues of race, poverty, abortion, or morality, this can only be accomplished one person at a time. 

May we have the courage that the Apostles had on that first Pentecost Sunday to go forth and do just that!