We are still reeling from watching George Floyd die before our eyes, and from the ongoing analysis of the systemic racism that sets up acts like that. Today’s Gospel message tells us that upholding the right is the work of a community. It is almost impossible to be a “moral man in an immoral society,” to use the title of Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous book. If a group becomes blind to wrong things, then the few whistleblowers can be dismissed or worse. To our sorrow, this was one of the tragic lessons of the clergy sex abuse scandal. On the other hand, when groups become conscious of wrongs and begin to act, great change can happen. Today’s Gospel gives a group, the church, a commission to uphold the right. “… Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven …” Yes, this great responsibility can and has been misused, but it is on the right track. Morality is not only individual and personal, it is communal. We learn right from wrong in family and school communities, and in our civic and church communities. We Catholics need to focus additional consideration of right and wrong on issues of our contemporary world instead of only on individual behavior. That includes reflection on racism and climate change, human trafficking, immigration and the market economy, to name a few. Have you had a chance to explore right and wrong in these areas with others?
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia