I wonder how God feels after watching the violence we’ve inflicted on each other the past 2 weeks? I have to believe He feels the same as a parent watching their children do each other harm. Last January, I wrote my Deacon’s Corner about Bishop Boyea speaking to the Lansing City Council on Martin Luther King Day. He used the occasion to explain the Catholic Church’s teaching on racism. I would like to share some of that Corner again with you, as the Bishop’s words are even more relevant today as we begin to restore our society from the ashes of everything that has recently happened. Essentially, Bishop Boyea said……
We are all children of God. We are all made in His image and likeness. That means we are endowed with an intrinsic dignity and worth which is rooted in our common origin in God Almighty. Our dignity is not something we confer on ourselves or on one another. Our dignity is a gift from our wise and loving Creator at the time we are conceived.
Racism is a form of idolizing myself, which is such an easy thing to do. When that happens, I make myself the measure of how I view others, which suppresses the truth of the nature of the other person. So, racism is a form of idolatry because I put myself in the place of God. It is a serious sin in violation of the First Commandment. To fight racism, we must intentionally focus on God, who is the origin and destiny of us all. This is the foundation for the common dignity of all human beings – the dignity that comes with being a child of God.
Despite the urge to argue or even hate each other because we don’t agree, we can never give up talking altogether. Because, God calls us to listen and know the stories of our brothers and sisters. So, we must create opportunities to hear, with open hearts, the tragic stories that are deeply imprinted on the lives of each other. Doing so moves us with empathy to promote justice. Bishop Boyea concluded by saying again, we are all made in the image of God.
Violence, arguing, politics, boisterous opinions on social media, or making laws will not solve the unrest we’ve seen over the past 2 weeks. There is no magic way of achieving unity and peace to solve social injustice for anyone. However, in the words of Bishop Boyea, “with good hearts, and an abundance of God’s grace, we can take that first step in fully recognizing the human dignity of all our brothers and sisters. May God bless us, our community, our state, and our country to reach such a noble goal.”