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Minority

I am disheartened by the election news that came out of India a couple of weeks ago. The same nationalist Hindu party that has ruled India for the last five years has been returned to power with a large majority. The ruling party openly declares that India is for Hindus. Therefore Muslims (who are almost 200 million) and Christians (who number around 25 million) are considered outsiders. The framers of the Indian constitution – the group included a famous Indian Jesuit, Fr Jerome D’Souza – guaranteed the rights of minorities and the law of the land even allows minorities to run their educational institutions funded by the government. Now the ruling party (Bharathiya Janata Party) wants to dismantle all these measures and re-write the Constitution.

For the Indian Christians, discrimination and subtle persecution are not new. What is new is that the mission of the Church is now being stifled and that the government turns a blind eye to the violence wreaked on Muslims and Christians. As I was reflecting on the Indian situation, I could not but realize that our situation here in America is slowly becoming comparable. In a certain sense, Christians and other people of faith are becoming a minority. Let me explain myself.

If we believe in God and worship Him as the Creator of the universe and all that is in it; If we hold that God made man and woman in His image and destined them to be eternally happy in relationship with Him; If we believe that one day we will have to give an account of our lives, for the good or the evil we have done; If we subscribe to eternal truths and give our allegiance to immutable moral values; If we do these things, then we are a minority.

If we believe that we are not the authors of our destiny and that the Lord above has our maximum well-being at heart; If we hold that all human beings are called upon to lead a moral life and that we are not the final arbiters of good and bad; If we take pride in the truth that humans are not at the mercy of their impulses or their instincts, and that they are capable of self-transcendence; If this is our creed, then we are a minority.

If we believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that their union is sacred and unbreakable; If we hold that sexuality is a precious, sacred gift and that sexual intimacy is authentic only within the context of a committed relationship called matrimony; If we consider children to be integral to the marriage bond and not a burden to family and society; If we hold these beliefs, then we are a minority.

If we believe that life begins at conception and that all life should be cherished and protected from the first moment of existence; If we hold that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect, and that as such, no human being can be used as a means to an end; If we believe that caring for the poor and the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly, the disabled and the mentally challenged, is not an option but a sacred duty; If this is what we believe, then we are a minority.

If we believe that we have been put on this earth not merely to eat, drink and be merry but to ease others’ burdens and to wipe away the tears on our neighbors’ faces; If we hold that there is more to life than making money and maximizing our pleasure; If we subscribe to the truth that our riches call us to enrich the lives of others, especially the poor and the needy; If we are such believers, then we are a minority.

If we believe that Christ-like love is the most powerful weapon in the world and that His love can conquer hate; If we hold that through God’s grace we can forgive anyone and anything; If we believe that true peace can be achieved only through acceptance of God’s will, forgiveness towards others and reconciliation; If we value every human person – irrespective of all our differences – and fight against every form of discrimination and injustice; If we do these things, then we are a minority.

Do you know what happens to minorities in every society? They are usually persecuted and discriminated against. I do not want to play the victim here. I just want to remind myself and others that if we hold firmly to these beliefs, we must expect suffering and persecution because the Master told us to. He said, “They will hate you because they hated Me first. No servant is greater than the Master. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

As our society gradually turns away from its Judeo-Christian roots and traditions, we can foresee stronger opposition to our faith. We should be careful not to get cozy with the powers of this world. If they applaud us we may have to wonder whether we are still faithful to the Master.

Let us pray that we remain steadfast in what we believe. As we celebrate Pentecost let us ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the same courage and wisdom that the apostles received.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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St. Paul of the Cross

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