Like many of you, I watched with deep sadness, the events of January 6, 2021 when our civilly sacred space was desecrated by a mob that had been misled and lied to. Archbishop José H. Gomez, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked Americans to “recommit” themselves to democratic values. “The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God. I entrust all of us to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May she guide us in the ways of peace, and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.”
The editorial Staff of National Catholic Reporter wrote, “A frequent refrain in the aftermath has been that "we are better than this." In some ways, that is false. This is part of who we are — it has always been part of who we are …” A more direct statement came from James Martin, editor of America magazine: “This is the time for Christian leaders to admit their part in the violence at the Capitol. When you cast elections as ‘good versus evil,’ vilify candidates and say that voting for one candidate is a ‘mortal sin,’ you encourage people to think that today’s actions are moral.”
I was deeply saddened by some of the symbols that were part of the riots, which included the erection of a noose and a confederate flag in the heart of the congress building, all of them painful reminders of racism that plagues our country. In our meeting of the Racial Justice Task Force, some of the members shared how distressed they were. We lament the recurring trauma experienced by so many people especially African Americans in this country. God has endowed every individual with equal value and dignity.
Our church needs to use this moment to reevaluate its unexamined embrace of political ideologies, or embrace of one issue at the cost of the holistic embrace of the Gospel. If the church is to live up to the teachings of Jesus, and if it is ever to be an authentic witness to the culture, it cannot, must not, be a part of what happened at our nation’s Capitol. Socrates stated “The unexamined life is not worth living,” truly reveals what could happen, when we repeat what we hear or act on them without taking personal ownership in the light of truth, regardless of our political or religious affiliations. Stay close to the Gospel, and let your faith shed a light on your politics, and we will be on the right side of God. I am disappointed that our diocese has yet to speak publicly on this issue, and our bishops in general have stopped short of condemning white supremacy after the riots.
Winter Nights. During these pandemic times it is difficult to establish and maintain personal connections. Many of you who have previously participated in the Winter Nights Program of serving homeless families, have expressed great delight and satisfaction at having the opportunity to experience those connections. Although we have not been able to do that this year, nevertheless, you continue to "hear the gospel and make a difference." Because of your generosity, concern, and prayers we have been providing food and dinners for Winter Nights this last week at Church of the Resurrection down the street.
As expressed by one of the staff members in a recent email "Thank you for dinner tonight, the clients and staff really enjoyed it. We really do miss having the volunteers around and having them be more "hands on" with the clients. We are all hopeful to be back to normal as quickly and safely as possible." Thank you for all you do in helping keep homeless families together. Also thank you for your generosity towards rental assistance. We have collected $35,000 so far. May God bless you.
This Saturday, our Filipino society will be celebrating the feast of Santo Niño, Infant Jesus at the 4.00pm Mass. There is a tradition of bringing statues of the infant Jesus, if you have them, and blessing them at the end of Mass. I want to thank our Filipino Society for all they do at CTK. May the Infant Jesus bless us.