We are all called to live out our baptismal vocation of priest, prophet, and king.
Today we need prophets willing to speak hard truths.
The truth that the overwhelming majority of whites have either explicit or implicit prejudice towards minorities.
The truth that police disproportionately stop, frisk, assault and kill minorities.
The truth that guns are the problem in our society.
The truth that just because you think everyone is equal doesn’t mean you actually act that way.
The truth that many leaders in all political parties promote white supremacist ideologies – whether from hatred or condescending messianism.
The truth that our nation locks up minorities at a disproportionate rate for drug offenses even though whites are more likely to do and sell drugs.
The truth that it’s not all about you and that when someone says you have done or said something racist, it is best to take some time to examine what you did even if it was unintentional.
The truth that our entire culture programs us to see black and brown and think crime.
The truth that police are responsible for their failures.
The truth that police unions and municipalities protect bad police.
The truth that nearly half of police participate in the code of silence to cover up bad policing.
The truth that leadership are the main cause for pressuring officers to participate in the code of silence.
The truth that whites have disenfranchised minorities through housing, schooling, healthcare access, food availability, transportation, and voter exclusion laws.
The truth that minorities are protesting the violence of gangs and taking a stand against violence.
The truth that talking about black on black crime is a subterfuge to avoid, ignore, dismiss and denigrate black and brown voices.
These are hard truths.
As prophets we are called to speak them in the streets regardless of the receptivity of those who hear them.
As prophets we call all people to examine their consciences, repent of the private and social sins of our nation, and seek a new way.
As prophets we offer hope for those who repent and choose the path of truth.
Let us be prophets. Let us speak the truth even if no one listens. Let us be Christ! Come, let us be on our way!
Americans have never liked studying history, real history. We love mythology. We revel in stories of our genesis as a nation not realizing that, at best, these stories are exaggerations and/or allegorical; at worst, blatant lies and/or intentionally edited to leave out, as Paul Harvey said, “the rest of the story”.
We have short term memories and are uncomfortable with the histories that don’t make us feel good or are more complicated than simple dichotomies of good guy vs. bad guy. We make excuses for those who went before us and then we refuse to acknowledge that those unjust actions have any residual consequences on our contemporary society. Or we condemn previous generations and then tell everyone else to “get over it already.”
We need to recognize that things from the past have shaped the present and rarely are the issues of the past fully resolved, they just may no longer be in the news.
It may be shocking to some that in 2015 the United States government was still paying a pension to a living child of a civil war veteran. The civil war ended over 150 years ago amd we are still literally paying for it.
You think Dr. King had a dream and racism disappeared because a few laws were changed?
You think native people have casinos and therefore they are just fine and dandy?
That the USA stole half of Mexico and that the people whose ancestors were living on that land for centuries before it became US territory should “go back home”? They are home. This was their home before my ancestors were here. This was their home before the overwhelming majority of Irish, Italian, German, Scandanavian, Polish, and various other European people had immigrated here.
We “remember the Alamo” but we are told a myth. The truth is Santa Anna’s army was defending the sovereign land of Mexico from an invading army.
We hear people talk about the “founding fathers” and have no clue a out what they are saying. The founders hated Catholics and that fueled their desire for revolution when the Quebec Act was passed.
John Adams signed a law that made it illegal to criticize the government.
Washington ordered an act of genocide during the revolution. Washington also put down a rebellion over taxes with the use of a military force. The Civil War was about slavery – the articles of secession all state clearly they were seceeding to ensure the
future of slavery.
Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright orchestrated the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
We committed war crimes in The Revolution, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and in many other military actions.
This does not mean that we have never done good things in the world. Our very Constitution is an enduring document of law that will, generations from now, still be studied and treated with historical importance for the world as much as the Hamarabi Code.
We have the capacity to do immense good here and around the world but we are hindered by our childish insolence when it comes to doing our collective homework on the history of our nation and the world.
All of the trials we face today did not just pop up out of nowhere, they were planted and cultivated years ago and the harvest has finally ripened. If we want to know what we should do going forward we must dig deeper in understanding what is going on today by learning about how we got where we are.
Soon we will be barraged with rhetoric about the “War on Christmas” because someone wishes us “Happy Holidays.” As Catholics, Christmas does not begin until the Vigil on the 24th of December (Christmas Eve). Before that, we are in the season of Advent. A time of preparation, of supplication, of penance, of prayer. To wish others a Merry Christmas, though well-intentioned, ignores a very important time in our Catholic faith and our spiritual lives. We must prepare ourselves spiritually to receive Jesus Christ, the bearer of the Gospel message. The Christian life is not easy, the message brought by Christ challenges everything about what it means to be human. Even the disciples proclaimed: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (John 6:60). If we do not properly prepare ourselves for the Coming of Christ, we will not be ready to receive him into our hearts and lives. We will leave him in the cold, shuttering, alone and rejected. When he comes there will be no room for him just as it was so many years ago when his mother and father were left without a proper place to bring him into the world. Do not be so rushed to usher in Christmas; Christ will come just the same. But, will you be ready for him? If you do not take this Advent season to prepare then perhaps you will be the one who, when his parents knock, tells them “We have no room.”
Wishing others a “Happy Holidays” is not an attack on Christmas at all, but rather, a recognition of the Advent season and other days of observance in preparation for the coming of Christ. Once Christmas arrives, wish one another a Merry Christmas, but until then, let’s not forget the fullness of this holy time of year.
The Four Sundays of Advent
December 8 – Immaculate Conception
December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 25 – Birth of Our Lord
December 28 – Holy Innocents
December 29 – Holy Family
January 1 – Mary, Mother of God
January 3 – Holy Name of Jesus
January 6 – Epiphany
January 12 – Baptism of the Lord
For Catholics, until we get to December 24th/25th, we should all wish one another Happy Holidays or Blessed Advent!
God’s Peace be with you all!
I know a lot of people who get upset when they hear others argue that the Catholic Church needs to “get with the times” and change Her teachings in order to remain relevant in the “modern” world. I almost always have an internal chuckle at such comments because the Catholic Church is the oldest institution on Earth and has outlived every “modern” society without having to worry about changing fundamental doctrines. She has outlived the Roman Empire; Han dynasty, Sassanid Empire, British, Spanish, Portuguese, and French Empires, Ummayad Caliphate, Mongol Empire, Soviet Union, and will continue to outlive all “modern” societies. Her stability and longevity is because She has remained faithful to the truth, especially those revealed truths that came directly from God, not by molding herself “to the times.” Her truths are eternal and so they stand the test of time. Why get mad? The Church wont “get with the times” in the way that many people would like because She knows better than the times. G.K. Chesterton once said (paraphrasing) “there are no new heresies, only old heresies wrapped in new packages.” Much of what people want the Church to change, to “get with the times” are simply old heresies in new packaging. Those heresies failed in the past, they will fail today, they will fail tomorrow because error decays, and truth remains. Don’t worry about Holy Mother Church, She will care for the Deposit of Faith. Instead, worry about whether or not you are truly living up to Her teachings. Worry about whether or not you are truly living a loving relationship with Christ; whether or not you are living a loving and merciful relationship with all of humanity. Do good, avoid evil. God will continue to guide and guard the Church; we must continue to follow His commands.