Pope Francis on Racism
Dr. Rob Mullen
Only occasionally does Pope Francis comment on a specific incident in any one country of the world. Rarely does he ever mention one individual involved in such incidents. So as he weighs in on civil unrest happening in the United States, thoughtful people everywhere should take notice. He unequivocally calls racism a sin, prays for the soul of George Floyd and offers condolences to all those who have lost loved ones. His remarks were made during a virtual public audience on June 3.
A few weeks ago I was involved in a residential real estate transaction in St. Matthews. I was stunned to see in the original deed a 1920s restriction banning ownership by “those from African descent”.
For many years at Trinity I taught Scripture and particularly enjoyed exploring the parables of Jesus, which he used to teach complex lessons. When one understands the “setting in life” of the parables they take on significant meaning. It can also lead to understanding why the authorities decided Jesus was a threat.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is an excellent example of this. Casual reading sees it teaching us to help those in need. To encourage this noble act we even have “Good Samaritan laws” that protect someone giving aid should their efforts cause that person harm.
Many of those hearing this story first hand would have been violently angry at Jesus for portraying the Samaritan as morally superior to the others who passed by the injured person. The reason being Samaritans were a group that many followers of Jesus hated. To fully absorb the challenging message of this story, I would ask my Scripture students to change the Samaritan to being the individual or group that they most detested. Only then does His teaching come into full light. This parable describes what Jesus expects us to do in these times, what Pope Francis reminds us He taught.
Finding, then living, God’s Truth is not easy. When Jesus taught, “love one another as I have loved you”, he meant without any deed restrictions.