Hear these words from Pope Francis:
Jesus knows that in this world filled with competition, envy, and aggressiveness, true happiness comes from learning to be patient, from respecting others, from refusing to condemn or judge others. As the saying goes, “When you get angry, you lose.”
Don’t let your heart give in to anger and resentment. Happy are the merciful. Happy are those who know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, those who are able to embrace, to forgive.
We have all experienced this at one time or another. And how beautiful it is! It is like getting our lives back, getting a new chance. Nothing is more beautiful than to have a new chance. It is as if life can start all over again….
We need some “time out”, some time in a deserted place — this seems to be a rough time in our country and our Church.
In my hometown of Lake Charles, a two-hour “discussion” at the City Council meeting led to a “defeat” of a resolution to remove a statue from the Court House grounds — a statue dedicated to the “Defenders of the South.” The 10 pm newscast focused on a small crowd of “victors” waving Confederate Flags.
President Obama is greeted in Oklahoma City by protestors waving Confederate flags.
A young,, apparently self-radicalized, man in Chattanooga, TN kills 4 Marines — at least one of whom survived two tours in Iraq only to die here at “home.”
We ARE an angry people and we are an angry nation. This is not good. When will it cool off?
What are we afraid of? What is the cause of the anger? How can we de-escalate the “conversation” so as to speak and live with civility?
IT IS TIME for all of us to go with Jesus into a deserted place and to notice what makes us angry, what causes resentment, what makes us judge —– and to let go. There seems to be a lot of emotion guiding actions — fear, anger, resentment, desire to control — AND, Jesus the Shepherd is calling out us to listen —
We are acting like sheep without a shepherd —- not because the shepherd is absent, but because we simply are self-guided and not asking the age-old question: What would Jesus have me do? What would Jesus do in this situation?
At the City Council meeting, I witnessed a young man — maybe 12 years old — with a confederate handkerchief hanging outside his back pocket and a confederate hat on — and I wondered to myself, where did he get his opinions? who taught him to hold firm in “defending” the South?
The prophet Jeremiah [23:1-6] warns parents, teachers, pastors, and bishops who mislead and scatter the flock. When we mislead rather than caring for — we are listening to a voice within ourselves and not necessarily a voice from God “above”.
We need leaders who listen first to the voice of the shepherd — a voice heard in the deserted quiet — a voice discerned without the noise of the world or the noise of emotion. Too many knee-jerk reactions are leading us into a deeper and deeper hole.
Calm down, cool off — take time. Are we making things better or worse with our words and actions? If we are of God, we are making progress. If we are of God, we are calming things down and building peace. If we are of God, we are showing respect of everyone, even those with whom we disagree. If we are of God, we do not wave a flag in the face of those with whom we disagree.