March 2016 Volunteers Reflection
I worked with a number of priests in my previous job at Unbound. They were ian interesting collection of men who had varied backgrounds and ways of living out their vocation as priests. Father Sam Lupico was one of the more unusual priests I worked with at Unbound. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and he intentionally lived in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods that was plagued by poverty, violence and drug abuse. He had great stories to tell because of the characters he would meet in his everyday life. However, it was his preaching style that made him more unusual. His preaching style was more commonly associated with Baptist or African-American churches. It was a jarring for white dominated suburban Catholic parishes to have him preach! One of the times I heard Father Sam preach he said “we are an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.”
Our world does have a lot of Good Fridays. There is division in our families and communities. Racism continues to be the original sin in our country that we just can’t overcome. Poverty maintains a stranglehold on people in cities, small towns and communities around the world. Violence holds an intractable place in our society. Some politicians advocate for building walls around us and for using torture and war to solve our problems. People find happiness in the deaths of others.
Are we really Easter people? If we are an Easter people we will look at our patients with the hope they will be healed. We will see the promise and potential of our students. We should know there are better ways to solve global problems than with war. We know and work to reconcile the divisions in our families and our communities. We can overcome our fears; fears of immigrants, fear of people different from ourselves, fear of being honest about our history. As Easter people we resist the temptation to lock ourselves in an upper room and resist calls to wall people out.
Father Sam’s point was that even though there is a lot of hopelessness and death around us it is not the end of the story. As a people who believe Jesus rolled away a stone and came out of the tomb lets us see the hopelessness and death differently. We believe that life overcomes death. We believe love will win out over violence. We believe hopelessness should be supplanted with hope. We believe the intractable divisions of our day and of the future can be reconciled through Jesus’ blood. We believe the world is redeemed by God’s sacrificial love. We believe God’s kingdom can be built here on earth as it is in heaven. We believe life can really spring out of the earth. We believe that when we go to the tombs in our lives they will be empty. We believe we can be better followers of Christ.