Justifying Divisions No Longer
The desire to protect self and family is understandable and justified…even holy. That strong desire for the good of those in our lives is placed in our hearts by a God who deeply desires the good for us.
Though it must be said, that our world and our communities are in the midst of a time when this truth is becoming more deeply perverted than ever. We have forgotten that with all of the important individual rights granted to us by our nation’s constitution and laws come equally-as-important responsibilities. But if our country and its leaders aren’t always great about reminding us of the latter truth, our Catholic social teaching is, It is our responsibility to prioritize the needs of not only our family members but also the most vulnerable people in our society and world.
This means that the refugee, the immigrant, the homeless, the elderly Muslim woman, the transgender teenager, the minimum-wage worker who has three kids, two jobs, no health insurance and breast cancer, all of these individuals become as much our responsibility as our own children. There is no longer “us” and “them”…because “they” have been folded into “us” by God; the God who obliterated all divisions within humanity at the same moment that the divide between human and divine was dissolved in Jesus.
The words of our heroes call out to us:
What we all want to create, in fact, is a community of kinship such that God might recognize it.
– Greg Boyle –
The problem of the world is that we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
– St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta –
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu –
Occasionally you are very fortunate and blessed to be able to stand with the easily despised and readily left out; with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop; and with the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.
– Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ –
I pray to the Holy Spirit for the courage to overcome the fallacy of scarcity that is so deeply socialized in us; for the fortitude to work for systemic change, for the strength and compassion to let go of some of my own comforts so that others might have their necessities met. May God help us hand to our children a world of not “us/them” but only us.
Perhaps one of our pitfalls is falsely equating “our good” with “what I/my family wants.” The ‘good’ that God desires for us goes much deeper than the right car, school, vacation…our ‘good’ is an authentic, mysterious, and truly deep goodness that helps restore our humanity.