In today’s passage, Jesus speaks to his disciples on the way to Jerusalem, foreshadowing the extreme suffering that he would undergo for our redemption.
Why did Jesus endure such horrendous suffering and ultimate death on the cross? Because of a passionate love for humanity! Reflecting upon his act of sacrifice—the lengths he went to reach us—reveals something about the importance of reaching out to those outside of our close circles, those whom we see as being “different.”
Throughout this Lenten season, we are called to acknowledge and combat the realities of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the triple evils of militarism (aggression), poverty (economic exploitation), and racism (intolerance). Dr. King argues that these factors stand in the way of our attaining the “beloved community” of love and justice that reconciles across racial divides.
Many have proclaimed we are in a “post-racial society,” yet there is much evidence to demonstrate that race still matters. Whether it is our political and civic leaders stoking fear, persistent movements on college campuses around issues of racial inequality, negative reactions to the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, or questionable police tactics in communities of color—race still matters!
But we are called to reach out. As Scripture reminds us, “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear . . . whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).
Terry L. Mills, PhD is associate provost for diversity and inclusion, and professor of sociology at John Carroll University.