“However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9)
If I show partiality, I commit sin; this phrase jumped out at me. I haven’t been able to dismiss it, nor the rest of the sentence in this quote, ‘and convicted by the law as a transgressor.’ Crud bunnies! What a lot to examine in one sentence.
I find myself looking forward to Lent beginning in a few days. These two sentences from James will probably be my focus this year. Why only probably? I need to leave room for confirmation from the Holy Spirit, as there are still a few days before Ash Wednesday.
If I show partiality, I commit sin; man o man, what a phrase to deal with! I don’t think 40 days will be long enough to break me of habits, lack of awareness, bias, prejudice, and my obliviousness to my own racism that has been ingrained in my thought processes. I will continue to work on ridding myself of the biases that I have absorbed during my life and opening my eyes to how privileged I have been in all stages of life. I need to be vigilant to increase my awareness of all in the world around me; how my actions or inactions affect others.
Cardinal Blase Joseph Cupich sums this up beautifully in his keynote address at the Catholic Social Justice Ministry gathering, held January of this year. He begins by quoting Pope Francis’ words, “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty” (Gaudete et Exsultate, [Rejoice and Be Glad] nos. 95, 101).
He continues, reminding us of our Catholic responsibility, “to bear witness to the Church’s commitment to a consistent ethic of life in every corner of our society. We are called to protect the life and dignity of all those who are vulnerable and embody Christ’s image, from the unborn to migrants, our brothers and sisters around the world whose lives are threatened by war, poverty, racism, or climate change, persons with disabilities, and persons on death row.”
What are you called to reflect and act on in the days ahead? Here are a few resources to help you on your way with this topic. I will be revisiting the Church documents “Open Wide Our Hearts” and Bishop Braxton’s “The Racial Divide in the United States.”
Beth is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here firstname.lastname@example.org.