Orphans of our Time

As we hear Christ’s words, “I will not leave you orphans,” from today’s Gospel, we know that in God’s eyes, all are loved.[1] As follows of Christ, we are called to model that love, yet time-after-time, we fail.

Reflecting on the last few weeks of quarantine, our society’s divisions seem all the more apparent. Families are struggling to afford life without a job. An inadequate healthcare system has left many people without proper care. A history of inequitable justice that has often forced labor unto marginalized portions of our society.

God may not leave us orphans, but humanity has unfortunately created orphans of our brothers and sisters.

How might we live differently and love more like Christ to leave no person orphaned?

In the Gospel, Christ speaks of the “spirit of wisdom” who lives in us and calls us to be an “advocate” to one another.[2] The Coronavirus has displayed the needs of our time, and as Christians, we must advocate for those in need.

The frontline workers in the grocery store, those working in the fields, the nurses and doctors all need our undying support. The families and friends of those who have died from the Coronavirus need our prayers and compassion as they struggle to mourn. Those financially struggling need understanding of their burden and sympathy with their cry to “reopen.” Those marginalized people of our society need even more support, especially now since this virus has disproportionately impacted them. The scientists who provide advice and counsel need our attention to prevent further spread and death.

“Advocating” means more than just prayers. Advocating requires standing up and showing up. Advocating is an active responsibility. Advocating calls us to speak, “Justice for Ahmaud Arbery.” Advocating calls us to support equitable healthcare. Advocating calls us to support the disenfranchised with paycheck protection and financial assistance.

Our faith calls us to do things that are often uncomfortable but necessary. It isn’t comfortable to wear a mask, but wearing a mask isn’t about you, wearing a mask is for those around you. It is uncomfortable to speak and advocate for justice because people will often attack and berate you. It is uncomfortable to financially support families in need, but the broader cost of human life is more critical.

The Gospel teaches people to do things, even if it is painful and uncomfortable. To give and not to count the cost.[3] To feed, shelter, clothe, welcome, and support all people is an act of faith that unites both Christians and non-Christians.[4]

The truth is we are all loved equally by God. No person receives any more favors nor disfavors than the next. We must love as best we can all people and recognize when we fall short.

It has been brought to my attention several times lately that I have fallen short. Online tweets that I failed to give context have been seen as offensive. An image posted on Facebook and Instagram was considered insensitive. A missed email was considered rude. When we find ourselves falling short, it is our responsibility to make amends. Knowing that reconciliation does not make up for our wrongdoing, rather it is a step towards forgiveness.

When we personally fall short, it is our individual duty to make amends.

When our society falls short, it is our individual and collective duty to make amends.

We have left people orphaned, abandoned, sick, and dying. It is our responsibility to carry on the message and work of Christ to advocate for the orphans of our world and love them without wondering if they are worthy.

[1] John 14: 18.

[2] John 14: 16-17.

[3] Taken from the prayer by Saint Ignatius Loyola, “Teach me to be generious,” https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/teach-me-to-be-generous/.

[4] Matthew 25: 31-46.

1 Comment

  1. Bobby,
    Another great writing and reflection. Your recognition of your shortcomings only make me realize my own. Very thoughtful!


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