My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today in our Mass, we are remembering the life of George Floyd, who is being laid to rest this morning in Houston.
We ask the Lord to let his face shine upon George Floyd and grant him eternal rest. And we ask that he console and comfort his family, especially his young daughter.
Jesus tells us today in the Gospel: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.”
I think we need to hear these words as a message to our country and to each one of us today.
George Floyd’s death was heartbreaking. It was wrong. It never should have happened. His death is a sad reminder that we have still have a long way to go in our country to confront the reality of black inequality and the racism that still infects our institutions.
America’s founders used these words of Jesus today to describe their hopes for this new nation.
They wanted this country to be a shining city on a hill, a light to other nations.
America’s founders dreamed of a nation where men and women from every race, religion and national background could live in equality, with dignity.
My brothers and sisters, it is our responsibility to keep building this city on the hill.
This nation will always be a “work in progress.” Our history is not pure. We have not always lived up to our deepest values or our highest ideals. We all know that.
So today we need to renew our sense of purpose. We need to commit ourselves again to making America a land of freedom and opportunity for every person.
God does not see black or white. God sees only his children. And he loves each one of us, no matter what the color of our skin is.
As Christians, as Catholics, we need to bring this truth to our society. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father.” That means we are all brothers and sisters, each one of us a child of God, made in his image.
In the first reading today, the prophet Elijah asks the poor widow to trust in God. “Do not be afraid,” he tells her.
And we should not be afraid, either. God goes with us in this moment. Let’s ask him for courage and wisdom.
God is calling us to be a light to our neighbors.
We need to stand together and walk together, as brothers and sisters. We need to strengthen our families, give hope to our children. We need to create a new culture of virtue and communities of compassion and care, in which we cherish our common humanity.
Jesus tells us today, “Your light must shine before others.”
Let’s make that true for every one of us! Let us fill our lives with good deeds and works of mercy. Let us give glory to God and make America a great city on the hill!
May Mary our Blessed Mother, guide us in the ways of peace and understanding.
1. Readings: 1 Kings 17:7-16; Matt. 5:13-16.