This is my second attempt at a reflection based on the Gospel passage for this Sunday – in the light of the racial tensions in our country.
The seed falls into the darkness of the earth – into the soil—and if the soil is good the seed will sprout forth – the plant will either blossom or bear things good to eat.
The other image that keeps coming to me over these weeks and months is a little different. Small children are seen as having a fear of the dark – not wanting to sleep in a dark room, being afraid of the dark. I keep thinking of this as a very deep rooted fear – perhaps rooted in primitive humanity. I remember walking with one of our sisters who was legally blind. She had recently returned from a workshop where she learned to use a white cane and also to read brail. Where we were walking was wooded and uneven ground – it was dusk so I asked her to lead the way with her cane because she could “see” better than I could.
As we have reflected on racism and the terrible events, the killings of dark skinned people I keep thinking that white privilege and the hatred white people show of people of color – I keep wondering — is it rooted in our primitive fear of the dark? Even our images of Jesus and Mary have been of white skinned humans. Only in more recent times have artists depicted Jesus as a member of other ethnic groups – Black, Native American, etc. This was brought home to me for the first time in the 1950’s. D.H.Holmes department store on Canal St. in New Orleans would sometimes sponsor art exhibits. One I will never forget was of paintings of Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles – all as Jewish people – neither black or white – more like a blending of the two. Of course you may think of the appearances of Mary in the various places as a native of that place. She appeared as one of the people.
Returning again to the fear of the dark — and fear turned to hatred of dark skinned humans. Our Liturgy – our Liturgical life is built on symbols. What if all who are pale skinned could begin to see dark skinned people as symbols of good soil? As that without which good cannot come to be rather than darkness to be feared and hated.