As I was walking toward Union Station on my way home from work one evening last December I heard a loud and unpleasant screeching noise. The noise was unsettling, and I was getting closer to it. Finally, I realized what the noise was. Someone was raising the state flags to the top of the poles on Columbus Circle after they had been at half-staff in honor of the San Bernardino shooting victims. I was floored.
What do we do when we’re done “officially mourning”? Seeing the flags being put “back to normal” almost felt like a personal affront. I wanted to say “Hey! We aren’t over this, and you shouldn’t let us be!” Certainly the families and friends of the victims will never be done mourning, but for the general public, what does it mean when the flags go back up to full mast?
The unfortunate reality is that people go on with their lives and the spotlight on the need to enact common sense gun legislation fades. But as people of faith, we are called to do more. We are called to harness pain and grief into making change. We are called to lead a path to peace in our communities, we are called to denounce hate and bigotry toward our Muslim neighbors, and we are called to lift up the dignity of every human being. Lent is a time of prayerful contemplation and growth. How might you use this time to meditate on injustices that cause you anguish and then translate that into faithful action?
Appointed readings for today: Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32