"Beloved: Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. But according to God's promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells…. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. " (the Second Letter of St. Peter 3:12-13; 17)
This scripture passage comes from the first reading of the Mass for Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, this year June 2nd, 2020. How prophetic! It certainly seems that the United States of America is on fire right now, figuratively and literally. It is on fire from racism and the unwarranted murders of innocent lives like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Arbery. It is on fire from anger and frustration over centuries of bigotry and discrimination. It is on fire from economic injustice, environmental injustice, and all systemic injustices. It is on fire from fear and hatred, ignorance and division. It is on fire from selfishness and greed. It is on fire from arrogance and indifference. It is on fire from looting and arson. It is on fire from loss of lives and loss of livelihoods. It is on fire from a refusal to accept responsibility. It is on fire from an unwillingness to do the hard and time-consuming work of doing justice and building peace.
But out of the ashes can come new heavens and a new earth. We see these sprouting all across the country. We see them in peaceful protests. We see them in people reaching out across ages and generations, across sexes and sexual orientations, across races and religions, across economic classes and political persuasions. We see them in people standing together to block attacks and protect property. We see them in police taking a knee and joining marches. We see them in neighbours gathering to clean up broken glass and to repair damaged and destroyed businesses. We hear them in voices crying out for understanding and compassion.
We as Pax Christi Metro New York condemn the violence and insist that its provocateurs acknowledge their incendiary behaviour and make reparations for their crimes. We know that violence only begets more violence. The particular violence we are witnessing strives to divide and defame those who have legitimate grievances against a history of injustices. It is opportunistic and counterproductive. We need to defuse racism, not fuel it. We need to end false justification for vengeance and the perpetuation of suspicion and turmoil. We call for a period of truth-sharing, which can only happen with open hearts and minds and with sincere listening to one another. We need the guilty to repent of their sins against humanity. Ultimately, we need justice that defies prejudice
and reconciliation that lasts. Let us unite to put out the fires and to create new heavens and a new earth. And let us start NOW!
Pax Christi Metro New York - www.nypaxchristi.org/
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