by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
During Advent, the first season of the liturgical year, we wait in hope for God to transform our hearts and minds that we may be ready to recognize and receive “the Lord our justice.”
What might Advent mean for those in our society who since the arrival of Europeans to this land have suffered the grave injustice of racism – Native Americans, Blacks, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims – to name a few? Many among these cultures still suffer personal and systemic effects of discrimination and prejudice according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Last week they released their second pastoral letter against racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.”
The sin of racism requires a transformation of the human heart. Overcoming racism is a demand of justice, according to the Bishops. Acts of hatred or ill will toward another person because of skin color or origin violates Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Love exceeds justice, but it never lacks justice (Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas et Veritate).
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the feast of Love Incarnate, may we ponder the Bishops’ pastoral letter, “Open Wide Our Hearts,” and commit ourselves to overcome the sin of racism, to welcome “the Lord our justice” in every marginalized person.
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