Well, today I cried at mass, during the Homily given by Fr. Dirk Dunfee of the Society of Jesus (AKA: the Jesuits). Now, I cry a lot, and especially during the mass I feel that I’m often moved to tears.
Today, though, the homely Fr. Dirk gave began with talking about the events of what is still ongoing in Flint, Michigan. Now, to be 100% honest, I am not feeling qualified enough to talk about what is going on, but essentially, the water is completely contaminated, with things such as lead, and the majority of the population of Flint is African American. (Here’s more info than I can give. Please, feel free to educate yourself.)
Flint is also very poor. So, as Fr. Dirk pointed out, this, along with many problems in our society, is an issue of race and poverty.
Fr. Dirk’s point was the need to live the gospel, to truly love, and stand for others, in a way that is beyond what the systems of our society are willing to do. Jesus was a prophet, and that didn’t help his health in the long run. Today’s Gospel reading, from Luke (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21) shows Jesus being willing to be the countercultural prophet he is, in the heart of the scripture.
I cried for two reasons. The first is the pit of despair and loneliness that I’ve sort of found myself in, due to issues of race and poverty. I feel often that my own background and upbringing bring me closest to those who are suffering because they look like me, and talk like me. I feel that my own being not-white and being not-with-money has had a lot of setbacks for me. But I felt the love today reach out and hold me. I felt God’s presence comfort me, and I cried.
I also cried because that pit of despair and loneliness extends also to my speaking out about issues of race and poverty, and how I feel that the more I speak out, the less I’m heard, and the more I’m excluded. Especially among my predominantly white, predominantly well-off peers whom I make feel “uncomfortable” by the things that have afflicted me, and people who look and talk like me, my entire life.
I cried because for the first time in a long time, I felt that what I’m choosing to be passionate about, and to be vocal about, was the correct thing. I cried because I knew that what I was doing was unpopular, but was, and is, necessary. Jesus spoke on these things. Jesus understands better than anyone what it feels like to be outcasted by society for speaking truth to power.
But what very few people in Jesus’ own time realized is that Jesus was the one who held true power.
I cried at mass because I was comforted in knowing what I am doing is taking steps in the right direction, and though I’m still far from doing everything I should and everything I can, I’m still working towards it.
Thank you for listening to me rant. Together, let’s work to help sove these issues of race and poverty. Peace!…