When I look outside when it rains, I try to find a colorful rainbow. A rainbow is bright, beautiful, and you always think there is something better at the end of that rainbow, possibly even treasure beyond imagining.
I have been thinking a lot lately about diversity in the world. I haven’t seen it much, especially since March. My heart is heavy knowing we are not kind to one another. Matthew 22:39 states, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (NRSVCE). I don’t see love, all I have seen is hatred amongst our brothers and sisters. Why? Aren’t we all one body in Christ?
I was born and raised in Kentucky. A lot of people’s first thought is Kentucky is so backward, especially with their views. But what I remember from living in Kentucky is all the diversity. It was a melting pot of the world, and that is how I look back at my hometown of Elizabethtown. Elizabethtown is next to the Fort Knox military base. I remember seeing people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and religions. This town and the people around me that I encountered while growing up shaped me to be the person, the human being I am. It didn’t matter to my friends (or to me, for that matter) what race they were, their family’s political affiliation, religion, or whether they were cheerleaders, football players, or baseball players. Those were just titles. My mother raised me to see the good in others’ hearts, and not to disregard the differences, but to recognize the differences between us strengthen the whole body of Christ. Titles and other characteristics do not define who we are.
What is more important? That you are in a particular political party or that you are a kind and loving person? As Galatians 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male or female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ" (NRSVCE). When I encounter someone, I do not see classifications; I only see Christ in that person. This begs the question: Who do we say that we are?
I am Amy - a government employee, a part of a political party, a white woman. But, these titles and characteristics are not who we are. We are children of God, and we all need to be able to look past individual characteristics or group associations and look at their hearts.
I recently saw that a journalist told another journalist he had decided to remove people that didn’t go along with his political views from his life. I thought, why? What does politics have to do with who that person really is? I have people in my life with views that are very different from mine, including politics, religion, and other beliefs. I am not going to push anyone away just because their opinions are different from mine. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for all my friends and family’s various backgrounds, religious beliefs, and cultures. I have a multicultural blend of friends from countries such as Ecuador to India, to Japan. My friends and family come from different religious backgrounds as well, from Buddhists to atheists. I have learned so much from all of them. I just wouldn’t be Amy without them. Apart from learning from them, God placed them in my life to serve them, and by serving them, I serve Christ.
"Maybe this is why we’re seeing so much hatred and division these days: we’re no longer seeing Jesus when we look at our brothers and sisters."
There is a song called “Bleed the Same” by Kirk Franklin, Toby Mac, and Mandisa. The words “we all bleed the same” is in an incredibly moving part of the song. As human beings, we all have different personalities and points of view, based on our cultural backgrounds and life events we’ve experienced, even as Catholics. But seeing fellow Catholics bad-mouthing each other on social media has been heartbreaking. We have to ask ourselves, what really matters? What matters is we are all one body, and we all bleed the same color - the color of love. Jesus shed his blood for us so that we can spread the Gospel of love. When we come together despite our differences, we show (not just tell) the world of this love.
If we didn’t have all kinds of people in our lives, we wouldn’t be who we are. I am who I am because of the people who have shaped me into being Amy. The titles or group affiliations that I have don’t define who I am, it’s the love that people have shown me that I spread to others.
As we go into the Advent season, look to Jesus in prayer, and show more kindness and love to others. God knows that each of us has much to pray for. God has called us each by name to spread his message of love. Finding the treasure at the end of the rainbow is the best feeling. At the end of the rainbow, that gift of treasure is the glory of the Child Jesus - given to us at Christmas. May we all find love again in this season of renewal and joy. By grace, may God empower us to follow in the footsteps of our Lord, who walked this earth and showed us how to love by his actions. May we always remember who we are! Children of God.
Let us always see the best version of ourselves, see the best in each other, and love even when it hurts - let us truly be the Body of Christ.