The Catholics and Jews came together in my world on Sunday, August 11, 2019 in Baltimore. I attended the 10:30 am service at St. Ignatius Church with a friend, and then attended the Tisha B’Av #ICEOutHoCo protest in Howard County with other friends in the afternoon. The messages from both events resonated deeply.
The priest said, “Today, young people are the principal protagonists of an anthropological transformation that is coming to be through the digital culture of our time, opening humanity to a new historical epoch. We are living through a period of change from which will emerge a new humanity and a new way of structuring human life in its personal and social dimensions. To accompany young people demands of us authenticity of life, spiritual depth, and openness to sharing the life-mission that gives meaning to who we are and what we do. Accompanying young people puts us on the path of personal, communitarian, and institutional conversion.”
When it was time for the petition, where We pray to the Lord ….. Lord, hear our prayer, my ears couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
We pray to the Lord, defeat the gun lobby and the public officials in their pay. Strengthen us to demand legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons, to require background checks, and to prosecute with rigor domestic terrorism. Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray to the Lord, shield innocent children cruelly harmed by politicians who stoke bigotry to stay in power. Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray to the Lord, end the affliction of all who suffer from violence and rescue them from bitterness. Lord hear our prayer.
Later that day, Jews United for Justice led a protest in front of the Howard County Detention Center against ICE and the detention of immigrants. The goal is to convince the county to end its contract with ICE to use the facilities.
Several hundred people gathered peacefully at this Tisha B’Av Action to #CloseTheCamps
Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av (Aug. 10-11, 2019), is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, on which we fast, deprive ourselves and pray. It is the culmination of the Three Weeks, a period of time during which we mark the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
We heard speakers talk about the 9th day of Av, a Jewish fast day “commemorating the destruction of the Temples which has become an emotional lightening rod for all Jewish national tragedies. The Jewish community is not the only community that is suffering in our contemporary world. The day prompts us to be human beings in community with others.” We also heard from immigrants and others about their experiences with ICE, and about the call to action — demanding Howard County to cease its intergovernmental agreement with ICE. http://jufj.org/hoco-ice/
This particular demonstration moved me in a way that many others haven’t because of the unity in spirit that I felt permeated almost everyone there. Old, young, religious or secular, the energy was peaceful yet determined. Everyone was focused on the mistreatment of immigrants, on ICE, and on our responsibility to end this immoral path our nation is on. [The organizer at the beginning of the action told us the ground rules, and I noted that he said our signs were welcomed but no Israeli flags because they wanted this to be an inclusive event.]
The Catholics and Jews today each reinforced similar messages from different angles. They spoke from a place of peace, not anger or violence. They focused on injustices and harm occurring in the real world, not abstract concepts of good and bad. And children were highlighted in each. The time has come for leaders of the past to follow the leaders of the future.
The youth in Gaza are demanding justice too. Our silence to Israel’s occupation and blockade is as deadly as the White Supremacists killing children in mass shootings, and ICE killing children in detention cages at the border.
Our hearts and heads must connect these dots so that our empathy and actions end injustices everywhere for everyone. The time has come to end our tunnel vision.