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February 15, 2021
A New Time
Though one might not know that a familiar Scripture quote is the beginning of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, many people are familiar with the “poem” A time for everything; a time to be born and a time to die, etc., etc. It seems like it has been since forever that we here in America have been caught up in one of the ugliest elections I can ever remember. I am sure many of us, Republican and Democrat alike had hoped that after the elections, we could get back to work at repairing relationships stretched by political differences. Unfortunately, former president Donald Trump and his supporters have insisted that, despite having no evidence to support their claims, the elections were rigged through a “bi-partisan” effort to “steal” the election. These unsupported claims interfered with the “peaceful transfer of power”, a hallmark of any DEMOCRATIC form of government. On January 6, the day on which the Congress and Senate were to certify the election results; to officially recognize Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President Elect, an angry crowd with murder on their mind, stormed the Capital to stop the certification process. Eventually the mob was repelled and dispersed, unsuccessful in stopping the certification process, and leaving behind, five dead.
We are now, almost a month into the new administration with still a world-wide pandemic to continue to deal with. There are matters that must come before Congress that require serious consideration and bi-partisan support, it is time to put aside differences and consider that we are all citizens of the same country. With elections there are winners and losers, but if after the elections we fail to unite in the single purpose of finding the “best” solutions, but continue to insist on only “my” solution, we will always be caught in the time of conflict, mistrust, and hatred. There is though, one common factor that unites the “far left” and the “far right”, they are both “far wrong”! Until we can get past labeling people and ideas as “leftist”, “socialist”, “liberal”, “conservative”, “capitalist”, or “rightist”, we will never grow as a nation, be strong as a nation, or survive as a nation. Until we decide that now is the time to see and understand each of us as under the common label of humanity, we will never have a time of peace or prosperity.
On the 17th of February, we enter another season of Lent, another time when people all over the world, Catholic and non-Catholic will try to prepare themselves to re-enter the Easter mystery renewed. Perhaps we can make use of this period of reflection to deepen our understanding and appreciation of our common humanity. This commonality is the foundation of religion, the foundation of human society, the basis and fundamental goal of morality. In the Book of Genesis, we read that humanity was created in the image of God. It is not just whites, it is not just blacks, nor browns, yellows or greens; all humanity is created in the image of God. By any way through which we deface the image of another human person, we deface the image of God.
During Lent, many people give up chocolate, TV, snack time, or even smoking. All of these require a degree of personal discipline, and can invite us into a deeper communion with the love of Christ. For me though, giving up chocolate, and or smoking (49 years since I quit) are easy. What is more difficult for me is training myself to listen more deeply to others. It is easiest for me to “pretend” at listening while I think of my “comeback” statements. Listening is, I believe, one of the more difficult disciplines I need to strengthen in order to better serve Jesus Christ. There is a time for every season and Lent is the time to listen.