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!
We often forget that we need a savior. Lured by our modern culture to think that we are our own creators, we forget that we are held in the palm of another’s hand. We are imperfect, we are flawed, broken, frail, ignorant, and selfish. We are embarrassed by all of these things. Admitting our frailties to others, even to ourselves, is painful. Like an injured dog we seek to hide from our soul’s injuries in dark corners, biting anyone who comes near, even those who offer a healing hand. We refuse to accept the truth, we close our eyes to the light, we turn inward in our sins.
Because of this, God sent us a Savior. He lowered Himself to bring us closer. He came to us, not as a conqueror at the head of an army; but as an innocent, tender, defenseless child. It may be easy to turn away from Jesus and his teachings if we only ever knew him as a man. In John’s Gospel we know this to be the case:
John 6: 60-70
“Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Many of the disciples left the man, Christ, when his teachings seemed to them too hard to follow. What if they knew him as a babe? What if they had received him in his infancy? Held him in their arms, fed him at table, changed his diapers, protected him from wolves? Would they be so quick to cast him aside in his adulthood? Would they not be more readily willing to listen to his words, no matter how hard they are to hear? Is the care for a child not hard? Isn’t the responsibility of raising and protecting an infant a great challenge? Let us prepare ourselves to receive the child Christ into our lives so that we may know him for completely. When Christ comes to us will our hearts be closed to him as the inn was closed to his parents? Or will he find a warm and welcoming place? If we know him and care for him as a child, it shall show us what we are capable of doing when we face even greater challenges in listening to the man, Christ, our Savior.
May God bless you this Christmas, these coming holy days, and may you welcome him into your hearts. Care for the child, listen to the man.
God’s Peace be with you!
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!