From the Pastor – September 6, 2020

Needless to say, this has been a verydifferent year, with COVID-19, Hurricane Isaias, and the ongoing issue ofBlack Lives Matter. This past week we saw sports teams decide not to playgames in opposition to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.God does not make distinctions, and neither should we. If we discriminateagainst one person, then we discriminate against all. Theplayers demonstrated their condemnation of the racism that permeates oursociety. But it is up to us to see that racism does not pervade our thinking,our policies, or our actions. Every person is created by God andendowed with the dignity of his or her traditions, no matter what they maybe. Racism has no place in our lives as followers of Jesus, and certainly noplace in the life of the church. While it is true that every ethnic group that hasentered this country has faced discrimination, that does not make it right.Just the opposite.
 In the August edition of The Catholic Spirit,the newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen, Pope Francis is quoted as saying,”…God has created us not as objects, but as people loved and capable ofloving. He  created us in his image and likeness. In this way he has givenus a unique dignity, calling us to live in communion with him, in communionwith our brothers and sisters, with respect to all creation. As Jesus’disciples we do not want to be indifferent or individualistic…” (p. 24).Can we do any less?
 In today’s Gospel Jesus is reminding us offraternal correction. This is something that has been taught to us for years. Ifthere is problem or difficulty between two of us, then we should tryto resolve it between the two of us. Because the church was the center of lifefor all, if the problem could not be resolved between the two, then it wasbrought to the church. Today we bring problems to social media, so thateveryone knows the problem and who is responsible. Talk aboutcreating a monster. What happened to two people sitting down, having aconversation over dinner or a few drinks, and resolving their issues? Hasrespect for each other gone out the window, and is it better to let thewhole world know about a problem between two people? That is hardly the respectfor each other that Pope Francis was talking about.
 We cannot solve the problems of discriminationin our country or in the world, or even in the church. But we can prevent it inour lives by the way we treat one another as valuable reflections ofthe presence of God. That is what we are called to be and to accomplish inour lives if we want to be faithful followers and disciples of the LordJesus. Look at it from this perspective. Do we have a choice?
 As we celebrate Labor Day this weekend, it willbe a different holiday because of the pandemic and school districts continuingto discuss options for educating our young ones so that both students andfaculty are safe. Remember to wear your masks, and maintain socialdistance so that we will all stay safe, and drive this pandemic down.