It’s interesting what sticks with you over the years.
I was raised Roman Catholic. I had two Catholic parents and a Catholic brother. Dave and I attended the same Catholic grade and high schools that my mother graduated from. I attended a Catholic university and received a degree in Theology. So I feel confident in saying that I have, at minimum, a basic understanding of Christianity.
Up until last year, I hadn’t attended mass in quite a few years — At least three. I hadn’t attended regularly since my first year of college (sorry, Mom!), and I hadn’t been back to any other mass since a priest had a bit of gay-bashing in his sermon.
One of my close friends — a devout Catholic– died last year, and I attended her funeral mass. The one thing that stuck with me (other than the fact that the priest refused to shake my right hand, opting for left, despite shaking everyone else’s right) was how many of the hymns I remembered. I guess when you sing them at least twice a week for nine years (Sunday mass plus Wednesday children’s mass during grade school), they stick with you.
As the country is descending into what feels like the darkest place it has in a long time, I see a lot of self-proclaimed Christians speaking out in favor of our president and some of his executive orders, either rumored or fact. “Close the borders!” “Make our country safe from the immigrants!” “Bomb them all and let God figure jt out!” “Don’t make me bake a cake for a gay!” “Jesus says it’s wrong!”
I’m reminded of the Prayer of St. Francis.
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy…
And also “Whatsoever You Do.”
Whatsoever you do to the least of my people
That you do unto me
Also “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” a personal favorite of a longtime priest at my home parish.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me
And just a good, old-fashioned bible quote.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Jesus would not have turned away immigrants, nor would he have supported a thinly veiled law for “religious freedom” that seeks to deny the rights of LGBTQIA folks (or, as one of these Christians said to me, “LGBTXYZ or whatever”). He wouldn’t have approved of violence against Muslims, Christians, atheists, gays, or, you know, anyone.
When you want to “make America great again,” remember that you, too, are most likely descended from immigrants and that this “great” country was built on the backs of slavery and genocide, two things Jesus most certainly did not condone or support. Please be mindful of the “greatness” you are claiming you want to go back to.
Whether you believe in them or not, I would hope you could agree that the stories of Jesus paint a picture of a man who put love above all else.
If you consider yourself a Christian, I would just ask that you examine your life and do the same.