Our common heritage

September 26, 2021

Too often we are way too focused on what makes us different from others, especially if we are under the illusion that to be different in those ways is to be better. We make sure to dwell on those differences and to celebrate them in such a way that we create a special class only for ourselves. Racial differences, ethnic diversities, color, gender, and sexual orientations are among a few of those divisive categories that have continued to create endless chasms and meaningless culture wars. Often, some of these culture wars have been fueled by political interests and other motives which are typically selfish in nature. The media too has been a major culprit, making sure to take advantage of an unfortunate situation to advance its corporate interests. Even religious institutions too cannot claim to be blameless in matters relating to class conflicts either by active participation or by passive collaboration. And sometimes, to remain indifferent in the face of tyranny and injustice makes one as guilty as the perpetrator. Both Joshua and John were guilty of the same offense. They each requested their masters, Moses and Jesus, to exclude those who did not belong to their class from prophesying or casting out demons. Doing so had to be their exclusive privilege not to be granted to anyone else. But how so wrong they were. Both Jesus and Moses took advantage of that opportunity to teach them a lesson on inclusion and in being able to share the gifts of God with others. The greatest privilege we have is that of being called, through our baptisms, to become adopted sons and daughters in Christ. This privilege makes us sons and daughters of one father, and brothers and sisters in Christ. It is the highest act of contradiction and indeed hypocrisy to call God our Father, as we often do, and to treat each other as enemies and strangers. Our common heritage in Christ compels us to love one another as He has loved us, and to treat each other with the respect and dignity that they deserve. In a world that is mired in division and conflicts, we Christians can become that beacon of hope, by working to dismantle the culture of exclusion, replacing it with that of inclusion, and by striving to achieve in every segment of society, in the words of Pope Saint John Paul II, a civilization of love. Amen

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