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The Jesuit Antiracism Sodality East

“Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” – John 9:39-41

 

Desolation

Much like the rest of the world, I’ve struggled with what to think of regarding Israel-Hamas War. I was shocked as I watched footage from the October 7th massacre in which over 1,400 Israel Civilians were murdered in cold blood. The resulting backlash from the Israeli government is also devastating with now over 11,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli rockets launched into Gaza. Most of the injured and dead are innocent men, women, and children. I cannot see the way forward in this situation. I feel blind.

The fact is I’ve been blind to the realities in the Holy Land for a long time. I’ve never experienced the pains of anti-Semitism and the knowledge that many people would like to see my ethnicity and religion erased from existence. Nor have I ever been forced out of my land and home and placed in an area in which I wasn’t able to leave. I’ve never had to live in fear for my life. But that is what both Israelites and Palestinians have faced for decades. Racism isn’t just an unpleasant sidebar of their lives—it’s actually fueling a war in which most of the people dying are innocent civilians.

I don’t pretend to know what the answer is, but I do know that Christ is seeing and suffering with every man, woman, and child killed and injured in the Holy Land and in all warzones—and he calls us to do the same.

Consolation

I recently moved from the Central American country of Belize, where I was doing prison ministry the past three years. Now, I’m studying theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM). At the STM, I’m surrounded by women and men who are dedicating their lives to the service of others as ministers, teachers, preachers, social workers, counselors, and many more roles. It’s such a gift to be a member of such grace-filled people who inspire me to be more dedicated, more loving, and more joyful.

One person I’m particularly grateful for is Fr. Michael Boughton, the superior of my Jesuit community here in Boston. In a Jesuit formation community like the one I live in, a superior’s mission is to provide loving support and direction to the men under his care. My work at the prison these past few years was emotionally exhausting, and I came at Boston in need of some rest, prayer, and reflection. Before I even arrived, Fr. Michael took time to reach out and offer me much needed affirmation, encouragement, and advice.

Who in your life inspires you and fills you with joy? When’s the last time you thanked them for their presence in your life? I challenge you to let them know in these coming weeks. ‘Tis the season!

This month’s reflection was provided by Ian Peoples, SJ, of Boston College.  If you would like to volunteer to provide an upcoming reflection, please contact Jason Downer, SJ: jdowner@jesuits.org.

The views and opinions expressed in this reflection do not necessarily reflect those of Jesuits USA East.

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