Sunday, August 17, 2014

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bossemptele, Central African Republic. Sinjar, Iraq. Ferguson, Missouri. These place names ring out like a litany of shame. Tribalism is a stubborn malady, and has always been so. Even the God-Man succumbed to its tendencies, however briefly. And that last fact is important, for it tells us how deep this infection has burrowed into our blood and bones. It is a disease we cannot cure, but one that we can find a way to manage. How? We need to stop pretending that "tolerance" and "coexistence" do anything more than cover up the symptoms of our illness. Chicken soup and a group hug might make us feel better, but they do not make the virus go away. What is needed is work; long, uncomfortable work. Every day, we must choose to actively love our neighbor. And in so doing, our hearts will open to see that the foreigner is really our sibling. "O God, let all the nations praise you!"