Boasting of Our Affliction

BY JOSIE DIEBOLD | June 17, 2019
Today’s Readings

In Sunday’s second reading, St. Paul speaks of boasting of our affliction. As I read his words, I wonder, what does this mean for our national afflictions?

The United States was built on genocide, land theft, and chattel slavery—an insidious system of white supremacy. At the expense of people’s humanity and lives, this affliction continues to be expressed and experienced daily. So, what would it mean to boast and to move into endurance, character, and hope?

With the love of God poured out into our hearts, we can make this move from affliction to hope by our commitment to the work of bold change. To undermine the terrorizing, dehumanizing system at the bedrock of our society, we have to become part of the powerful multiracial movement for racial justice. We need to do the work—to use our hands and skills—and to be deeply committed and know our stake in this work.

I resonate with a quote from Lilla Watson, an aboriginal elder and activist: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”  As a white anti-racist organizer, it is vital that I know why I’m part of this work so that I can endure—and hope. Countless leaders of color, among them Kwame Ture and Alicia Garza, have called on white communities to undermine white supremacy where it is born and maintained—in white communities. Indeed, my work is deeply grounded in the intimacy and connectedness that Lilla Watson expresses. This system has harmed and stopped us all from being freed.   

I know that to boast of affliction into endurance, into character, and into hope, is the work of collective liberation—the work for a future where all are free.  

3 replies
  1. Mary Frances Burke
    Mary Frances Burke says:

    Great reflection, Josie! If we are going to end racism we need to work together and embrace our common humanity. We are one, not perfect, but one. When we find strength in our commonality we have the courage to celebrate our uniqueness. That alone will enable us to work together and become the great nation our founding fathers (who were born of great mothers) envisioned.

  2. Gina Maria Picone
    Gina Maria Picone says:

    I think it’s high time in regards to social justice concerns in the US and other countries, we should pay heed to the other native brothers and sisters among Native American and indigenous peoples in our territories, in Appalachia, etc. There’s so much we can learn from them in so many ways, ranging from the physical to the spiritual on a wide number of topics. As the Bible often encourages us to drink from the wellspring of wisdom, we too must be like the deer who pants for fresh water and savor its sweetness


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