My dear friends,
We Brothers have been deeply saddened watching the news these past weeks and months.
First there was the news of the Covid-19 pandemic, shocking us all by the sheer number of lives lost, and upended. As it became clear that the pandemic was affecting communities of color in disproportionate numbers, our shock turned to grief at the sin of racism these numbers revealed.
With the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, our grief turned to despair, and a profound sense of hopelessness as we watched crowds being dispersed by tear gas and rubber bullets. This sense of hopelessness was made all the greater, as it came within hours of having renewed our Baptismal Covenant on the Feast of Pentecost. There we affirmed the kind of life we want to live that resists evil; seeks and serves all people, loving our neighbor as ourselves; and strives for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being. What we have seen in the news, is not reflected in the words we had said a short time before.
For many, including us, this season has been a time of sadness, shock, grief, despair, and hopelessness. Words seem empty, and hope feels lost. Yet the promise of the Resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of Easter is that hope lives, even when all seems hopeless; and the grace of baptism gives us the means, not only to dream of, but to work for a better and more just world.
The task before us is enormous. Justice and liberty for all will not happen overnight. But each one of us can do one thing that will make a difference in our world. In the days to come, you might want to consider what you can do in 8 minutes and 46 seconds that will bring hope and healing to our broken world.
At a time when words seem empty, and hope feels lost, may the grace of baptism and the gift of Easter, fill us with the courage and will to make them real, and in so doing making the world a more just place.
Know that we Brothers pray for you, for this nation, and for our world.
Your brother in Christ,
James Koester SSJE