Saints from All Nations, Races and Tongues
One of my favorite sayings comes from a sign I once saw at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in East Hampton Massachusetts. The Devil divides and subtracts God adds and multiplies. It is a great saying. In fact, the bible teaches that God’s greatest desire is the unity of His children.
If you heard today’s first reading carefully the Book of Revelation describes the saints in Heaven as a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
Each of us has a call to be united to each other in Christ. God is our one father and we seek salvation in Him through Jesus Christ not only for ourselves but also our neighbor. Our mission as Catholics, each of us, is rooted right there.
There is no place for any kind is disunity in the Church at all. It happens but does not belong in the Church.
Notice what it says: "a great multitude from every nation, race, people and tongue. Each group of human beings is represented there. That is God’s vision for humanity and this is our call to live it. "Remember, it is God’s will that all are saved.
I had an interesting experience this week. I was reading an article submitted for the newsletter for which I am the editor and the writer submitted a piece talking about systemic racism in the country in comparison to the United States Bishop’s letter on racism.
I discussed his submission with him and asked if I could make some changes because as one who speaks several languages I have had to deal with racism in the Church. Now before anyone gets nervous here, I want to make sure that you understand I was talking to someone else in the city this week of how I have not had to deal with that issue in this parish. I have in others. However, we need to understand what our faith teaches so we can teach it to others. So, I give this homily not for your correction but so that you can correct others. Racism is an unbalanced based principle based in reason without faith. What does our faith teach at the beginning and end of the Bible literally—Genesis and Revelation and everything in between. Genesis: all races can trace their origin to one man and one woman. There is no superior or inferior race.
What does Revelation teach? Representatives of all nations, races and tongues stand before the Lord. This is the goal of salvation history.
There is no basis for racism in Catholicism or in the Bible. Granted we can find it, in fact Paul had to remind everyone that they are united in Christ and therefore they do not look on one another as Jews or Greeks. So, it has always been there. Bartolomeo de Las Casas in the sixteenth century admonished his people in what is now called South America that the way they were treating the indigenous people is a mortal sin.
St. Paul calls us to outdo one another in holiness. We all need to work in service to Christ to lead others to Christ. Each of us in both and all communities have that call.
What do I mean by racism is an unbalanced principle based in reason without faith? One of the most famous scientists in the world is also a Nobel laureate. Certainly, the Nobel Prize committee does not believe in his racial theory and probably did not know he holds it when it awarded him the prize in science. He maintains to this day that white people are superior and refuses to back down. Our faith teaches us something different and I believe in science but not that kind of science.
Eugenics which is the pseudo-science involved in building the perfect race is all about eliminating traits and races people consider inferior and breeding those they consider superior. It started in this country and then moved to Germany. Edwin Black in the book War Against the Weak explains that American organizations funded Mengele in the early 1900’s. It is now the science involved in forcing abortions of those unborn with traits they do not want in humanity. It is a system active in many countries in the Western World.
Slavery rooted itself in that kind of science. One of the rationalizations of slavery is the people who were enslaved were not biologically developed enough as a race to live like we do, slave owners were doing them a favor by enslaving them. There is nothing in our faith that teaches this. Nothing, even though it is well known that Catholics owned slaves.
If you study the faith you will see that the unity of the races under the one God is the mission of Christ. Any form of division for any reason except good and evil has no place in our faith. We may have separation culturally because we cannot mix the cultures well logistically that is only because our way of expressing our faith is different but our unity in Christ is real.
The saints are comprised of people from every race, nation and tongue. They are all united on one point seeking to serve Christ well in holiness. Few of them spoke English by the way. Everyone one of us have a calling to be saints regardless of whom we may be. Every person has gifts endowed upon them by God himself. There is no exception.
The greatest cause of racism is fear. People fear others in their difference and separate themselves from others. Fear is a great manipulator and people can use fear to manipulate you. In fact, community organizers teach people to use fear and anger to motivate people to do what they want.
There was a talk show host in this city who said some of the most disgusting things against blacks and Hispanics I ever heard. There was no cancel culture then and he got away with it. Fortunately, he left the city, but unfortunately he was picked up by a national network. The local station is no longer on the air and the talk show host has since died.
We have a calling to be courageous. Courageous people do not let fear overcome them and do not let fear cause them to reject Christ or his precepts. One of the greatest causes of fear is economic. “If those people move into our neighborhood our housing prices will drop.” Good luck explaining that motivation to our Lord in Heaven.
Both of our main political parties at one time or another, by the way, had an anti-Catholic plank in them. We should know as Catholics what this hatred looks and feels like. I certainly do as I am a victim of some of the anti-Catholicism of one of those parties.
Racism is always a sin because it goes against God.