The sin of racism has a long history of division. A history filled with a kind of hatred I have not known and I cannot understand. More than anything, a history so sinister and sly that if you aren’t paying attention you easily forget that it’s not history at all. It’s here in the present haunting and hunting and hurting others in subtle and systematic ways that perpetuate cycles of poverty, violence, and oppression.
The senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd demands understanding. Through his struggling gasps, the world heard his cry that bears the tears of countless unknown and untold instances of humankind’s history of racial hatred. It reverberated in cities throughout the world, sometimes as a growl of palpable anger and destruction – sometimes as a peaceful hum of hope and shared humanity. The clanging noise of division has been heard and the costs have been high. With it, though, is the quiet promise of hope that conversations about racism are leading to an unprecedented and long overdue conversion in our country – suffocating the sin of racism and breathing new life into love and unity with our neighbor.
Every day in countless small ways we choose what kind of change to affect in this world. Those choices matter. In the mundanity of our daily routine, we may sometimes forget how much this is so. We can’t reconcile our mistakes without first recognizing them. During the mass, we recite a prayer known as the Confiteor. “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do…” When it comes to social injustice collectively and individually, we have failed our brothers in sisters by both what we have done and what we have failed to do.