Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reflection for Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday of the First Week of Advent
IS 30: 19-21, 23-26
PS 147: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6
MT 9: 35 - 10: 1, 5A, 6-8

“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned…”

I write this reflection as I am learning of the non-indictment against the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner by employing an illegal chokehold while on camera. I am feeling deeply troubled and thoroughly abandoned. My friends of color across the country are crying out in grief, anger and hopelessness. We’ve been here before. The last four months have left this city aching, tired, hungry. Some ache for life as it was. Some are tired of marching, tired of arguing, tired of fighting for the right to live. Some are tired of listening. There are those of us hungry for justice, not just for Mike Brown but for all of the unarmed men and women whose lives have been cut short at the hands of state. 

I know of another life cut short at the hands of the state: the life of Christ Jesus. Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the Agitator… Jesus the man who dared to topple the Empire.

I know that many in this community are weary of unrest. But I also know that a great many of my brothers and sisters recognize, along with me, that something has got to give. The slaying of African-Americans by agents of authority forms a link in the ongoing chain of racial oppression. I believe that I have a special responsibility as white woman and as a Catholic to work to overcome this system of oppression and acknowledge, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I remind my brothers and sisters who decry unrest that in the absence of justice, there can be no true peace.

We have a long way to go before we can speak of justice in Ferguson, in the wider St. Louis region, and in this nation. We cannot achieve it without struggle in our communities and within ourselves—for in the words of Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”  We must act now to build a more just society. We must struggle together. As we hear in Isaiah: “This is the way; walk in it.” 

We must learn to walk in ways that stand in solidarity with oppressed in this country. We must learn to be the face of Christ, the hands of God, who promises in today's readings that Jerusalem will be rebuilt, bruises will be mended, and the lowly will be sustained. We must rebuild, mend, and sustain.

We have so much work to do.

I hope that you, like the Twelve, will respond to the summoning.

Emily Bland '10 is assistant director of the Vincentian Mission Corps.

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