Readings (Year C):
Reflection: Love demands justice
This weekend is filled with celebration: barbecues, fireworks, and patriotic displays. However, given the recent years of turmoil, inflamed by racial injustice, mass shootings, socioeconomic inequality and mounting deaths due to COVID-19, how can we authentically rejoice and celebrate?
Today’s first reading provides us with a way to offer up to God these painful realities rather than indulging in false jubilation. Isaiah reveals that God calls for rejoicing with Jerusalem, while acknowledging there are those who were mourning over her (66:10).
Our God holds us completely: our joys and sorrows, accomplishments and setbacks, and especially our pains and discomforts. This includes our societal pains and discomforts. God permits us to mourn over the suffering we see in our country and to name these painful areas.
There are those in our faith communities who would silence us from naming what we are mourning. They would claim we are being unpatriotic, sowing hatred and division.
But our God is a God of Truth who leads us to call forth, prophetically, what needs to be addressed rather than remain silent. God is not bound by finite binaries that are utilized to gaslight those who call attention to injustice.
Contrary to those in our faith communities who might attempt to silence us, loving demands not ignoring the problem areas. When our parents, spouses or children are causing harm to themselves or others, would we be truly loving them by ignoring the problem and looking the other way? Love demands us to confront that which is bringing ruin to the one we love.
Hence, it is ultimately patriotic to name and address the injustices in our nation and failing to do so—or preventing people from doing so—only perpetuates hatred and division.
Additionally, in the first reading, we encounter a God who gives us comfort when we are mourning.
In the face of our nation’s injustices, we ask God to comfort Black, Brown, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous persons who are being murdered, beaten, unjustly arrested, and made to feel unwelcome in America.
We ask God to comfort women, who regularly experience discrimination and infringement in the workplace and in society.
We ask God to comfort the many who are not able to pay their rent and are living in their cars and on the streets.
We ask God to comfort the many who have been afflicted by COVID-19, the people who care for them, and the people who mourn for them.
We ask God to comfort us who are discouraged by the many injustices we encounter, and to empower us to be agents of transmitting divine comfort.
For comfort without justice is a bandage waiting to fall off. Comfort without change is a short-term fix.
In honor of our nation’s independence and to express authentic love for our country, let us work to overturn all that binds those cast as the least, and offer them the real independence from injustice that God intends for them.