Two weeks to go and counting. What will Easter mean to you this year? As I’ve remarked in various places recently, the process of “maturing,” (i.e. getting old,) finds me becoming a little more focused on what is to come, and a lot less on what has been. Somewhere in the middle of those two ideas is my here-and-now.
A couple of people pointed out a recent op ed in the Wall Street Journal by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. I highly recommend it. Just type ‘Cardinal Dolan Inclusion’ in your search box and it should pop up. It worked for me.
The Cardinal’s article was headlined, “If You Want ‘Inclusion,’ I’ve Got a List.” After reading through Cardinal Dolan’s “list,” I was overwhelmed. I tried to envision some of the people he singled out. Picturing them was wrenching. I felt wounded, enraged, empathetic, sympathetic...
I doubt the Cardinal had to work hard to call up the groups he mentioned. As Archbishop of New York, they must create some of the very foundation stones of his ministry.
He began the op ed with, “I am proud that my country and my church are both committed to the noble ideal of inclusion. Everyone should feel loved and respected. All people must share in all rights. We couldn’t be ‘one nation under God’ if we were otherwise.”
He continues, “Yet society and the church are falling short of this noble ideal. By accepting one dominant cultural narrative that presumes to define those who are ‘excluded,’ we are ignoring those who don’t tidily fit into the prevailing cultural story line.” Then he offers some examples and that’s the part I found compelling.
After describing some of the tremendous challenges that various groups face, he ends up by saying, “These good people tell us they are also marginalized and excluded. Rarely do I find them bitter, angry, or judgmental. They, too, want a society that is inclusive – not merely for the groups now chic to identify.” i.e. the ‘charity du jour.’
There he ends.
By coincidence I happen to be starting this Twitch on the Feast of St. Joseph which we celebrated last Monday. During my homily at Mass, I recalled that we never hear St. Joseph speak a word. Nevertheless, he plays a key role in the story of our salvation history. Joseph was truly a man of action, actions which speak louder than words, in-deed!
Cardinal Dolan didn’t go into a series of solutions at the end of his “list.” He just left us hanging there, asking ourselves how to find ways of dealing with the “prevailing cultural story line” – in other words, not putting people and things into neat little boxes without alternatives. That really doesn’t help anything.
Where are the Spirit-filled rampways that might lead us to highways of health and healing? Identifying unnoticed needs is one way of starting that journey. We decide NOT to conveniently ignore what Cardinal Dolan has pointed out to us, the marginalized people who are at the roadside all the time.
We pray for the fortitude, the patience, the wisdom to look for them. I suspect that looking offers solutions quicker than we might think. Solutions may seem obscure and difficult at times, but we can’t use that as an excuse.
I hope I’m not pushing it too far if I say really looking for marginalized people is a great way of celebrating the raising of Lazarus. We celebrate restored life to those who are left on the doorsteps of death.
In our “Soon-to-be-Raised” Lord Jesus,