June 30, 2020
by Tom Lenz
Creighton University's Department of Pharmacy Practice
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 378

Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
Psalm 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8
Matthew 8:23-27

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Rediscovering the Corporal Works of Mercy

Today’s story in Matthew’s gospel is likely a familiar one to most people. Jesus goes out in a boat with his disciples and the sea’s turn for the worse. The disciples are scared and believe they may die and all the while Jesus is asleep. They call on him to wake up. I can picture myself on that boat as the sky turns dark, the winds blow hard as the waves come up over the sides of the boat. I would be terrified, no doubt. After I read the story, however, the familiarity of it changed as I became fixed on the idea of Jesus being asleep while all this was going on.

Many of my thoughts these days seem to focus on racism and the struggles that people of color experience in today’s world. I think about being a white man and how I have greatly benefited from those two unearned characteristics. I have done nothing to earn the many privileges that just seem to be part of my normal life. For most of my life I just kind of assumed everyone lived like me and had the same opportunities and benefits that I did. I am beginning to understand, however, that this is not so – and unfortunately, far from the true life experiences of my brothers and sisters of color. I have been asleep while the storm blew all around me.

Racism, sexism, consumerism, war, disease, politics, and other noxious doings of life today foster a sense of dualism – or a separation of humanity where we do not see our similarities, but only our differences. If there were ever a time when we should recognize the sameness of all humanity, it should be now. The COVID-19 virus does not discriminate based on color, race, gender, or political alliance. Nor too, do the feelings of hurt and anger after watching people of color murdered by those with power and privilege.

The storm of racism and injustice isn’t scary to those who are asleep. The inability to see the happenings of today, either by choice or by ignorance, is a position of unearned privilege. It is time to wake from our sleep and take action to calm the storm – just as Jesus did. It’s time for everyone who has been asleep to get up and rebuke the wind and the sea, and perhaps then we can have great calm.

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