Saint Paul is the victim of injustice. Held by the Romans, for charges brought by the Jewish leadership. Charges brought about because of fear and jealousy. Even the miraculous deeds performed in their sight does not counter the worst of human emotions.
We know all too well that injustice is still with us today. The slow pace of aid to Puerto Rico. The lack of a timely response after Hurricane Katrina. A black man shot for jogging. And most recently, a black man, not resisting police, already handcuffed, who was suffocated, in fact murdered after having been arrested for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Of course, we do not know if he was guilty, for he was murdered long before he would have had his trial.
We know the poor all over the world suffer so much simply because of their poverty. The murder of Christians is at an all-time high around the world. And we still cannot recognize the inherent complex dignity of an unborn human being.
What is the appropriate response to all this? The apostle Paul provides the starting point. In the midst of his imprisonment, he evangelizes. Even when he is chained, he reminds people of the life-giving salvation of Jesus.
But this is no Pollyanna solution. Earlier Paul scolds Christian communities for discrimination against the poor. He reminds the faithful that with God there are no distinctions in human dignity. All humans are valued. There is neither poor nor rich nor slave nor free nor Gentile or Jew.
These lack of distinctions, though, cannot be confused with lack of action. We are to fight injustice. We are to recognize the systemic causes of the injustice we see everywhere, and more importantly, seek to fight it.
Let us pray.
Dear Jesus, all people are made in your image and likeness, which gives them inherent dignity. And yet, we humans discriminate and make unfair distinctions. Help us, Lord, to see more clearly your presence in all people, and to work for equity among all. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Music: Cheezy Piano Medley by Alexander Nakarada
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