MLK would want us to act against injustices in our den
Although his life ended tragically in 1968, the goals of Martin Luther King Jr. still motivate the many people of faith who wish for peace in the world.
Rev. King’s mission was examined during a special Mass on Jan. 16, at Blessed Trinity Parish in Buffalo.
Althea Porter, a member of the diocesan African American Commission, welcomed the congregation by reading a memorial prayer presented at Howard University by Bishop Smallwood E. Williams in 1969 in memory of King.
“We felt the writing itself was something that resonates with us today, more than 50 years later,” she said.
“May the torch of non-violence which he held so high continue to burn brightly in spite of the gross darkness that is covering our world today. May we never permit his dream to be an impossible dream. May we never surrender to the enemy which he fought so courageously, so bravely and heroically until the end.”
Sister Roberta Fulton, SSMN, introduced guest homilist Father Fred Alexander, OCD. The Milwaukee pastor has been an active member of National Black Clergy Office since 1991.
Father Alexander explained how that Sunday’s readings speak to all of us, specifically the lives of Israelites living in Judah after being in exile.
“Life for them was harsh. The economic situation was dismal to bad. And there were many pagan rituals very tempting to them. Does this sound familiar to anyone? What happened then is still happening now,” he said.
The harsh conditions caused many to lose faith in God. So, Isiah’s words – “Do not be silent. Do not be quiet about the injustices that are happening in your den” – were really a rallying cry.
“There’s a tendency to understand/see what is unjust, talk it over with your friends, and do nothing about it,” Father Alexander explained. “Isiah was saying, ‘We must speak out. We must be bold and we must take prophetic action.’”
He defines prophetic as speaking the truth as we understand God’s word from Scripture.
King also spoke out against hypocrites who complain, but do nothing.
Father Alexander spoke in support of law enforcement. Acknowledging there has been some injustices in the past, he feels no one should paint all police with a broad brush anymore than people should consider all priests to be pedophiles. Pointing to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision the month, he said, abortion, the death penalty, and the killing of unarmed people of color all goes against the Catholic respect life ethos.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher and Cheryl Calire, executive director of the Office of Pastoral Ministries, presented the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship for eight-graders who will attend Catholic high school. The goal of the scholarship is to support the recipient so they can continue to serve in their parishes, community and world. This year’s scholarships went to Echap Marial, Roslyn Animwah Osei-Gyamfi and Elijah Soe.
The Albert Lenhard Scholarship, founded in 1985, is presented to Africans living in the Central Buffalo region who want to continue their education beyond high school. This year’s recipients were Mawein Dut and Antonios Hagos Yohannes.