Pastor’s Message for the Week of June 28th, 2020
To be a witness to the “bright light of truth”, implies we can judge wisely between good and evil. To refuse to engage the Holy Spirit’s gift of Right Judgement would imply we do not care about distinguishing truth from falsity, that there is no difference between being “wrapped in the darkness of error” or standing “in the bright light of truth”.
But the Holy Spirit's gift of Right Judgement allows us in every situation or circumstance to see our surroundings and those around us with fresh eyes. Prejudice distorts our vision of God and His world. It stifles the work of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth. Within this context, when we prejudge someone based on irrelevant criteria such as language, culture, race, education, career etc., we effectively say we do not want to see “them” sharing the same dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God as “us”.
I know firsthand how difficult it is not to prejudge people and their cultures. I grew up in Northern Ireland where religious, political, and cultural prejudices were very much ingrained into the daily fabric of society, even passed down from one generation to another for hundreds of years. It affected what neighborhood you could live in, the type of job available to you, and the type of sport you might engage in. I was part of a generation who remember well what it was like to live daily life within what many called a “military and police state” where checkpoints and soldiers on the streets were commonplace.
Too often, there is a “muscle memory” that we have all inherited that unfairly haunts us. Events, behaviors or sights and sounds can easily trigger a personal or collective history of discrimination, abuse, neglect or warfare that one may never really have healed from - “a thorn in the side”, to borrow a phrase from St. Paul.
Yes, we should discriminate when it comes to ideas and actions, but not against individuals. And we should continually pray that the Holy Spirit will always guide us towards Right Judgement. When we reflect on the opening prayer the Church gives us for this coming week, we can also remember the words a famous preacher once remarked, (in the language of the 1960’s) that “the good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore brothers.”
May our Blessed Mother Mary be able to look upon all her children’s faces and see reflected back to her, the recognizable face of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who will judge us rightly in the spirit of justice and mercy.
Father Cávana Wallace