Day 4: Refreshing the Stories

BY AMANDA MONTEZ COBIAN | February 17, 2024
Today’s readings

In today’s Gospel, we imagine the frustration of Jesus’ followers as tax collectors and sinners gathered with Him. With disdain and confusion, Jesus’ followers posed the question: who is worthy to belong? In today’s context we can see these questions ring true in our society: Who gets to live peacefully? Who gets to be their true and authentic selves? Who gets to live with dignity and respect? Who is continually and systematically excluded? Jesus is quick to remind His followers to refresh their mindset of who should be included in building the kingdom.

During the season of Lent, a time of renewal and re-grounding, I encourage you to think about refreshing your Lenten practices. Instead of fasting, is there intentional information that you can be welcoming? Are there stories and experiences of marginalized communities that you should intentionally learn more about? In my work as a DEI director, I have felt inundated with lists of movies to watch in order to better understand systemic racism and drawn to comedies and documentaries that gave critique and depth to the human experience.

At Jesuit High School, we annually host two faculty book groups. This year, I offered the idea to host a media group instead. Watch a prescribed movie or TV show surrounding the topic of race and ethnicity and come ready to discuss the stories you’ve witnessed. We’ve learned about multi-racial households, gentrification in Boyle Heights, the model minority myth in higher education, amongst others. While our conversations are fruitful, it’s their refreshed algorithm that I hope has a greater impact. With new stories, we gain a broader perspective from communities who have been silenced. This Lent, I encourage you to think of the multitude of simple ways to get to know your neighbor because by authentically and wholly knowing your neighbor, you can more authentically welcome them to the table. 

Want to follow along with our media lunch? Take a look at what we have been viewing

Reflection questions: 

  1. Whose stories and experiences do I know? Whose stories and experiences do I need to learn more about? 
  2. How does age, ancestry, national origin, race and ethnicity, religion, culture, language spoken, learning style, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical attributes, political belief, geographic location, family economics, or familial status impact the stories and people we know?
5 replies
  1. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Growing up in a tiny PA farm village, I saw or heard no diversity of races, religions or languages (except the German dialect I heard from my Amish neighbors). I think it was why I wanted to learn more about diversity in the world when I chose a very secular university. A world I only occasionally saw in books or movies as a child.

  2. sonja
    sonja says:

    If I find myself being biased or judgemental towards a particular group of people, I seek ways to engage with these people. There are still some that make me feel very uncomfortable to be around. When people rape Mother Earth and treat their workers unjustly, how do we engage with them?

  3. Thea S
    Thea S says:

    Thank you for your list of movies and tv shows. I seldom watch either, but will try to refresh my Lent by intentionally watching and reflecting on a couple other of them

  4. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    As a POC who is pretty heartbroken over current rhetoric & political climate that discriminates against us, thank you so much for putting this content out. Is extremely important at the moment.
    & it’s a helpful actionable way to help us all keep in check of our biases. That’s always important & holy

  5. Carolyn Riddle
    Carolyn Riddle says:

    What a wonderful way to reach teens! I have a movie suggestion. It’s an old comedy fantasy film called “One Day Without a Mexican.” The premise is that everyone wakes up one morning, and all the Mexicans, from gardeners to physicians, have simply disappeared. My son recommended it to me when he was a teenager. It could spark discussions about immigration, diversity, and community among other topics.
    Thank you for all you do for these kids. God bless!


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