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Combatting Racial Injustice with the Light of Love

July 26, 2020  Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 109)

Reading 1   1 KGS 3:5, 7-12

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king
to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him:
“Because you have asked for this—
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches,
nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right—
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.”

 

Responsorial Psalm   PS 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130

R. (97a) Lord, I love your commands.
I have said, O LORD, that my part
is to keep your words.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
For I love your command
more than gold, however fine.
For in all your precepts I go forward;
every false way I hate.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

 

Reading 2   ROM 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

 

Alleluia   CF. MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

 

Gospel   MT 13:44-52 OR 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

or

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

 

By Sadie Curtin

Today’s first reading from 1 Kings hit my heart and inspired imagination.  God says to Solomon, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” My first thought is, wow, you are one lucky guy Solomon; and my second thought leads me to imagine what I would ask God for if given the opportunity…

As I brainstorm, I am first inspired by Solomon’s response: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” 

Of all the things he could have asked for, he chooses an understanding heart

in order to serve as a moral leader with God as an active part in that leadership. Again, wow, you are one intentional guy Solomon.  In this imaginative opportunity to ask one thing of God, I am going to start by borrowing an understanding heart.  For with that comes the insurmountable gift of empathy to aid in all things.

As I continue to brainstorm a request from God, I am drawn to consider a preferential option for those most vulnerable in our country right now…#BlackLivesMatter. 

My heart aches for justice for Black Americans and I want to bring this pain and desire to God. 

When one part of the Body of Christ is suffering, I have learned that my Catholic identity calls me to take on that suffering until there is healing. 

Lastly, a song I have had on repeat lately inspires my brainstorm: “The Light of Love” by Florence and the Machine, where she soulfully sings “Don't go blindly into the dark/In every one of us shines the light of love.”  What poetic and prophetic language to guide my request of God.  These words encourage me to go deep within to find the light of love to dispel darkness I see around me, especially with regard to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

So, brainstorming has led me to imagine the following request if I was in Solomon’s shoes.  God says to me: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” And, I reply: 

Give your servant an understanding heart with the ability to find the light of love within so that I may fight for a world where Black Lives not only matter but are treated as sacred.  

Although I may not have God asking this request in a blatant form like Solomon did, I am encouraged that my imaginative experience can be turned into a prayer that I trust God will hear.  I pray that understanding hearts abound, that all people will find the light of love within them, and that the world begins to heal the wounds of racial injustice.  

St. Katharine Drexel, patron of racial justice, pray for us. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sadie Curtin is a high school theology teacher who finds herself most invigorated by LGBTQIA+ equity, racism, and the profound beauty of world religions. She finds joy in taking long walks with friends, reading a thought-provoking memoir, and trying to find the best pizza in Cleveland. She loves to dive deep into issues of social justice and would love to engage in conversation with you! Find her on instagram here.

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