As I have reflected on the racial injustices within our Ignatian Family, I am often challenged by the lack of racial diversity that exists within many of our Jesuit institutions.
Navigating my way through this lack of diversity, I have often tried assimilating myself into the predominantly white spaces that make up our Ignatian Family. For a long time, I have struggled with revealing the truth about myself; failing to celebrate my own Chicano identity in order to fit in. Yet, I am tired of pretending to be white.
Over the past week we have been listening to Jesus revealing the truth of himself to the Jews in the Gospel readings. It has been a complicated process, and the Jews do not fully understand who Jesus is and what he is trying to communicate to them. In today’s reading, he declares that “before Abraham came to be, I AM.” In doing so, he revealed the most honest truth about himself, and as a result was persecuted and threatened with being stoned.
Jesus provides a powerful example of living into his full self. To deny this, he tells the Jews, “I would be like you a liar.” I recognize the need to risk the truth in revealing myself, my culture, my identity when entering into our Ignatian Family. The question is, how will I be received? If I do not fit into the small box that one expects to find in our Ignatian circles, will I too be run out, like the Jews did to Jesus?
- Am I able to be fully myself in the circles I associate in?
- In what ways do the spaces I exist in help or hinder others to be fully themselves?
- How might I create a space where everyone can celebrate their full racial and cultural identity freely?
Marcos Gonzales serves as the director of trauma-informed education at Chicago Jesuit Academy. His pursuit of a faith that does justice has taken him from the islands of Micronesia as a Jesuit Volunteer to the streets of Los Angeles working at Homeboy Industries as a case manager. He received his BA in theology and master’s in education from Loyola Marymount University and completed his master’s in social work at Loyola University Chicago.