A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
A few weeks ago, some people expressed to me their concern that some preaching and teaching in the Church had too much to say about political issues. They reminded me we should be about the business of inspiring people religiously. As one person put it, we go to church to escape the World for a few minutes. Church and State should be separated. We need to say our prayers, confess our sins, and hope we go to Heaven when we die.
I certainly can identify with the desire to find a few minutes of peace in the midst of all the conflict and upset in the World. I often think I should become more and more contemplative and find serenity and peace in the monastic enclosure. In fact, I first studied the Bible hoping to be inspired in the depths of my soul.
After my first encounter with Scripture in a professional academic setting, I was stunned. The Bible spoke of justice more often than not. The Prophets were passionate about justice. Isaiah boldly proclaimed the worship of God necessitated justice for the poor and the stranger (see Isaiah 1: 11-17). The Professor who taught Jeremiah often broke down in class. His tears revealed the passionate love of Jeremiah for God who does not dwell in buildings but people’s hearts. We need a “new” heart declares Jeremiah if we would ever appreciate the uncompromising love of God for the poor (see Jeremiah 31:31).
Jeremiah confronts the King whose taste for luxury exceeded his willingness to care for the poor. The Prophet reminds the King of his father, King Josiah, who cared for the poor with tenderness and justice (see Jeremiah 22: 16).
In the second and third chapters of II Kings, Solomon succeeds his father David on the throne. Solomon quieted his soul and prayed to God on the occasion of his succession. He humbly and beautifully prayed for the gift to rule the people with justice in the tradition of David. David understood the King must be like a shepherd inspired by God so the people might not be harmed.
In our day and age, we have too many religious and political officials who are insensitive, self-seeking, and lacking in Solomon’s wisdom. In some States children are suffering from hunger and disease as the political leadership plays “politics” at the expense of the people in their care. If we do not speak up, we are complicit.
So now, like Solomon, we quiet our souls each and every day so we might enter into the presence of God as we hear a word from God upon which we must act. We must proclaim the word of God without anger or resentment but with clarity, boldness, and concern. In the silence of God, we hear the cry of the poor.
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for all the times you practice the courage of your convictions in your words, deeds, and heart. Thank you for seeking the wisdom of Solomon.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: