The devastating news from Buffalo, NY we received this past week has become all too common. However, to the family, friends and the community where these children of God lost their lives this past Saturday, to those of us left behind, we will live forever with this horrible senseless loss of life. Our lives will never be the same Since this past Saturday another 7 mass shootings have occurred. There has been a total of 198 mass shootings in this country since January 1.
I know that not all mass shootings are racially motivated. There are plenty of issues that can be addressed from mental health, guns, information distributed on the web, etc. Each one of these issues and many more would take copious amounts of debate that will most likely end in plenty of disagreements. The loss of life, the hurt, grief, anger and pain experienced by those who have experienced the death of loved ones is present no matter the cause for a mass shooting. I don’t claim to have an answer to end mass shootings. But one of the evils of what we are experiencing is RACISM. We have certainly seen racists- motivated by hate who have left their mark in places like Charleston, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.
Let’s face it, we have this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. What can we do?
Jesus certainly gave us direction in this past Sunday’s Gospel reading, “Love one another, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” In love we call out the evil of racism in whatever form it takes such as white nationalism, “great replacement theory,” red lining, segregation, etc.
There is no place in Scripture where Jesus says, “We should love only those like us.” There is no quantifier in his command to love one another regarding the recipient of that love.
As the Church, we must call out racism for the evil it is. Politicians who push racism no matter how it is tucked neatly and discreetly in their proclamations of civic duty need to be called out for spewing hatred of those who act, look, worship, differently than white America. The same goes for radio, television and podcasting personalities who spread hateful, racist lies and the corporations who sponsor their scree.
The disciples certainly had their moments of doubts and uncertainty. When confronted with a large crowd of hungry people, they wanted Jesus to send the people away. Jesus’ response is, “You give them something to eat.” Confronted with the reality they had only a few loaves of bread and and a couple of fish, Jesus took what they had and multiplied it so that all were fed and satisfied.
I can see Jesus challenging us today in light of the growing racist rancor we are experiencing at this moment. Our brothers and sisters of color, those who worship differently, those who are being pushed out of their communities because of their sexual persuasion are crying out. They are hungry for justice. They desire love, respect, and dignity. They look to us. And we look to Jesus encouraging our Lord to send them away. I hear Jesus saying, “No, YOU fill their need. YOU give them justice. YOU give them peace. YOU give them love. YOU confront the evil that racism is. You have been given the power of the Holy Spirit from on high. You speak for them. You protect them. You put an end to the evil that racism is. There is no place for racism in my Kingdom. Do not be afraid for I am with you always!”
The time is now. How many more will suffer?
Do we really love as Christ asks? Love one another. No exceptions. End racism now.