“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1968
God’s justice is coming. That is the message the prophet Isaiah declares to the people of Jerusalem divided, disillusioned, desolate, thinking nothing would get better. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement for racial justice for African Americans, perhaps some of us feel the same way: when will justice be served? When will Black Lives Matter in our country?
God promises the hope of God’s justice to Jerusalem centuries ago, and still to us today. In our diversity, we are God’s delights. Paul tells us that, amidst our diversity, we all have spiritual gifts that come from the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God which came down upon Jesus at baptism. It is the same spirit that gave Dr. King prophetic words and commitment to racial justice. It is up to us to use our spiritual gifts in the work of antiracism today to honor Dr. King and all the people who have put their bodies on the line for equity.
Sometimes, we cannot see our gifts in the fight for justice. Perhaps we are listening to the voices of the false spirit, telling us lies about ourselves. Or we are overwhelmed and tired, especially with our continual coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice. Perhaps we know we want to work to become antiracist but do not know where to begin.
As we remember Dr. King this year, let us be like Mary—pointing out the gifts in Jesus and telling him that now is the time to act. Who helps us see the gifts of the Spirit within ourselves? And perhaps more importantly, who in our lives do we need to tell that now is the time to share their gifts in the long moral arc that bends towards racial justice?
Lucas Sharma, S.J., is a deacon of the Jesuits West Province and a graduate student at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. He is currently serving as a deacon at St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco, CA. Lucas serves on the boards of Seattle University and JVC Northwest working especially in mission and equity initiatives. When not studying, Lucas loves to cook and watch the soap opera General Hospital.