United As One

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

When I was a student, I was very involved in Peace & Justice and participated in several marches. I do remember the hostility that those marches invoked in some people. They called us "communists" and said we were unpatriotic for criticizing the government. Some used the infamous, "love it or leave it" slogan.  It wasn't much longer before the Pro-Life marches became popular, and the very same people who had criticized us for protesting were now protesting themselves. I had to laugh when some of them made the claim, "Well this is different, we are protesting something that is wrong and needs to be changed."

It seems that each of us has things that we think are unjust, or unfair, or should be illegal. We see things that need to be changed. The right to voice those opinions are guaranteed us in our Constitution. Ironically though, there will always be people who will want that freedom for themselves, but not for others. While they want to be able to criticize the things they see as being wrong, they do not want to be critiqued themselves.

Of course, the African-American community knows full well the power and the need for protest. Our nation was built on the cry of people yearning for justice, and that same cry has continued to shape her down through the ages. Unfortunately, I do not think we are done. As much as we like to think that we are all about defending the oppressed, we seem to do a lot of oppressing. But that is the genius behind the Right of Free Speech. It is guaranteed to each new generation. The search for justice is ongoing. Each of us must continue to soul-search and take a hard look at how we treat our neighbor.

This afternoon we will take to the streets once again. I am sure many people will march for many different reasons. Perhaps it is good just to march, to walk beside your brothers & sisters, to ask  if we truly love these people as much as you love yourselves? Do you care about the needs of your neighbor? Is the justice that they seek the same justice you seek? Or perhaps, is the justice they seek something that you can give them, even in some small way? In the end, what I have learned after all these years is that we do not march to be "different," we march to be "the same." We march so that others might see our similarities rather than our differences. Ultimately, we march to be united as "one!"

 

In the Redeemer,

Fr. Rick