I hope you’re all enjoying your Sunday. If you’re looking for some music to jam to, something that explores some of the biggest questions of life with a Christian heart, I’ve got a recommendation for you: Mumford and Sons.
They’re not Christian themselves (or, at least, don’t claim to be any more) but the band has a strong Christian background and you can’t deny the overwhelming influence the faith has had on their music. Just take a look at some of the names of their songs: Babel (Genesis), Rose of Sharon (Song of Songs), Thistle and Weeds (parable in the Gospels), Roll Away Your Stone (Lazarus, Jesus), Broken Crown (of Christ), Timshel (literally “thou mayest” in Hebrew), The Cave (reference to St. Francis of Assisi), Believe, Awake My Soul, Lover of the Light. Even in songs that are not specifically about the Bible or faith, their way of expression is the language of faith (Babel is about putting on false selves and failing to communicate, a call to take off the mask and tear down the wall. What better way to capture this situation than to invoke the tower of babel?)
When I listen to their music, what I hear is a band that once knew faith quite well, that was excited for the mission of Christ. And then the world happened. And then doubt crept in. (And then being labeled “a Christian band” and being associated with the Christian Music Industry would have killed their success.) So they say publicly that they are people of that don’t consider themselves a part of the Church. Who am I to judge, but I still think they have Christian hearts influencing everything they do. Just because you hit a patch of doubt and go on a wayward journey doesn’t make you no longer a Christian.
No matter what they say, I think they’re furthering the mission of Christ. Subtly, they are opening the door for people who would never come to Church to engage with topics like faith and doubt, sin and grace, shame and redemption, hope and despair. You don’t need to use the name Christ for the mission to grow, and I think they’re doing just that: helping it grow.
Regarding your video. “I’m a bit racist, And so are you” I could not agree with you more. Simply by starting with the statement, I’m a bit of a sinner, and so are you, it would be so much easier for any honest and Jesus-loving Catholic, or Christian, if we want to refer to our separated brothers. We simply cannot deny this premise, for as St Paul said it in Romans, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Going back to being racist, there is an endless range of degrees of being racist. The easiest way to make a Catholic confront our racism is by reminding ourselves that we are not perfect, for only God is perfect. But yet, Jesus wants us to be perfect as our Father is perfect.
So how do we start chipping away our racist attitudes towards others? Easy, by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. But our neighbor is not just our friends, our loved ones, our relatives. This is the easy part and there is no merit in doing that. Our neighbor is our enemy, the homeless person we passed by when driving back home, it is the out of work tenager or adult that we feel afraid of because he looks different than me, because he does not share our beliefs or our values; it is the black activist fighting for social justice, it is the gang member full of tattoos and acting in a way that we don’t agree with and makes us feel threatened.
Fr. Casey, last night I watched your video where you go over the past 5 years of your apostolate of reaching out to people. And as Jesus told Martha, the Holy Spirit has enlightened you and you have chosen the best part. I congratulate you for seeing that with God it is not about ratings, number of hits, or likes, or followers. It is about picking up our cross and following Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It is about all of us doing God’s will and noy our will, to love Him first with all our heart, and all our soul and all our mind. And then love our neighbors as ourselves.
May God keep us all on His path and may we be worthy of His graces.