Isn’t it beautiful how a song can connect us? I have friends across the political spectrum and many posted their sorrow at the passing of Leonard Cohen, many of us because his enduring song Hallelujah has become a canvas for so many artists and an unlikely door into our souls. Last night Kate McKinnon donned her Hillary suit one more time and played tribute to him, a heartfelt adaptation that was also a call to our better selves:
David Chapelle’s monologue contained multitudes, and closed with this story about his feelings during a recent BET sponsored party at the White House, and the history of how African Americans were treated in the Peoples House before Obama was elected:
I thought about that, and I looked at that black room, and saw all those black faces, and Bradley, and I saw how happy everybody was. These people who had been historically disenfranchised. It made me feel hopeful and it made me feel proud to be an American and it made me very happy about the prospects of our country.
So, in that spirit, I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. And I’m going to give him a chance, and we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one too. Thank you very much. (H/T to the Washington Post for transcription services)
Fr. James Martin offers similar advice to be “pro-unity and pro-voice.”
These two paths—of reconciliation and dissent—may seem contradictory. But this was Jesus’s dual path, and he invites us to follow him. He urged people to come together. “That they all may be one,” he said (Jn 17:21). But he was not afraid to speak out, even if it offended people. Even if, paradoxically, it caused disunity. “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).
Catholics have a special responsibility to work with charity to reconcile in the midst of this divisive time. They also have the responsibility to stand up, clearly, loudly and passionately, for the rights of the poorest and most marginalized among us.
Today is the feast day of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, a missionary who cared for immigrant communities here in America. Our readings this week remind us of perseverance and that we are called to imitate Christ, to welcome the Lord who rules the earth with justice. It is a timely message as our nation proceeds from election to governance, from protest to vigilance and, hopefully, from hate and division to unity and love. I still believe the arc of the universe bends towards justice for all. I hope you will join me in praying the novena to Christ our King and meditating on God’s enduring mercy.