Race. It's a hot-button topic. As a white male, I am more than aware that it's a delicate topic and one that I am not supposed to speak about. There is an entire list of politically-correct, charged words that I am not supposed to use. I'm not supposed to notice the amount of melanin in someone else' skin or even speak of it in private, let alone in public. Race doesn't exist. Science has shown us that for a very long time. We are all human. There are strong men of every skin tone and weak ones. Smart ones, and dumb ones. Fat ones and skinny ones. I just finished watching a TED talk about this very concept. One line stands out to me in particular: Race doesn't exist, but race matters.
What does that have to do with today's readings? Nothing. Everything. St. Paul was in the process of spreading the Gospel in the early Church. Each time he set out there was a group of Jews going before him to stir up trouble. Paul was rejected, stoned, even had to flee from a window at one point in a basket. All because someone did not want the message that Paul had to offer. What was that message? That God loved all humans, regardless of ethnicity. The message that used to be only available to the people of the Jews, was now available to all people. No matter where you grew up. No matter what color your skin was. Free or slave. Male or female. White, brown, tan, yellow, green, purple. God loves us all and wants us all to come to the place He has prepared for us.
Why did Paul keep going? How did he have the courage to continue to receive beatings, whippings, stonings, and even the verbal abuse of those who despised him? Peace. The peace of God. That primal peace that rests in the soul when you know His presence. It doesn't mean that the world will become peaceful. It doesn't mean that your day will be free from trials and tribulations. It does not mean that you will be rich and live in comfort. What it means is no matter what happens, you will be filled with the comfort of knowing what happens in the end. God has already revealed what awaits for those who are faithful, for those who are overcomers. It's not that we should become robots who are programmed not to see color. Rather, we should be humans who feel a warm feeling of love for everyone in their colors. Love for all regardless of their social standing, their workplace environments, their habits, words, or histories. Peace in our core, with our lives centered on the promise of hope that Christ offers us in His Gospel, allows us to endure all things.
His servant and yours,
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
A reflection on the readings for Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter: May 16th, 2017