Today’s Mass Readings

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African Americans are intimately familiar with the directive from Jesus to love our enemies.

Oftentimes, we ask: “Lord, who is my enemy?” This happens in both the best and worst of times. Right now we have an African American president, black and brown Supreme Court justices, and black and brown CEOs. But it is also an era of increased racial discrimination: unwarranted stop and frisks of young people of color by the police, and morally unjustified police killings of young men of color, women, and even innocent children. Furthermore, black and brown people are often incarcerated for offenses that actually warrant medical treatment, not imprisonment—in many cases leading to a lifetime of disenfranchisement—never being able to vote, apply for good government jobs, or secure affordable housing.

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Many Catholics have been conspicuously absent from racial justice movements such as Black Lives Matter, while other churches and denominations have been at the fore.

We ask, “Lord, who is my enemy?” 

This is a new era of civil disobedience actions and daily calls for justice — Black Lives Matter protests are happening everywhere in America, with many religious denominations are front and center — but Catholics, white Catholics in particular, are often nowhere to be seen.

We ask, “Lord, who is my enemy?”

The Catholic Church is increasing its social justice work in Third World countries, but is largely silent on racial justice issues in America.

We ask, “Lord, who is my enemy?”

Yes, we can identify the police, the court system, and other institutions as the enemy. However, this is too easy, too obvious an answer. Loving our enemy calls for Catholics, especially white Catholics, to examine their role—or absence—in the fight for racial justice in America. 

Yes, we should love and pray for our enemy, but faith without works is dead. It is time for Catholics of all races to join in the fight for justice.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Does your prayer and conversation with God open your eyes to racial justice in your own community?
  2. How does your faith guide and strengthen you to work on racial justice issues from a Catholic perspective?

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