The more I think about the Pentecost homily at my parish last Sunday, the more I feel compelled to speak up about it, and against it. The priest began with equating the Holy Spirit pouring knowledge and inspiration onto the disciples to how teachers educate their kids, especially during the pandemic. He called the teachers heroes, and rightfully so, that’s all fine and good.
But then he went on to say that the police are heroes too, for breaking up the riots. Worse, no positive word at all for the protestors, nor expression of concern and solidarity for the suffering and hurting Black community. That left me very unsettled and disappointed. That the priest is Vietnamese, like me, doesn’t help. I spotted Black people attending Mass with me; my reaction to the homily must’ve been the tip of the iceberg compared to theirs.
Part of me wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a warm friendly goofball otherwise. I don’t know the entirety of his thoughts and stance on recent events, and there’s only so much a priest can bring up in a homily. But the message he chose to convey, to 500 something people attending either in person or from home (yeah my parish is big), didn’t leave a good impression. As someone who’s very non-confrontational in nature, I’d quietly stomach down my dissent over things I’d hear and disagree with, but no longer.
What should have been said is that the heroes of recent days are not the police, but the protestors, especially the Black community, crying out for change and justice. That the Holy Spirit is moving through them to set the world on fire.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the parish I’d been baptized in and essentially raised in as a 2nd home. God is the shepherd and I’m part of his flock, but I won’t be the kind of sheep who complicitly accepts everything I hear and neglects to think critically.