Right of Conquest

Today is Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

European Explorers
Native Americans

Yesterday was a day of mixed celebrations. Two traditions at odds with one another. Columbus Day is a national holiday is the USA celebrated on the second Monday of October. On the same day Indigenous Peoples’ Day which is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

Some are hysterical mad. Literally hysterical in their defense of Christopher Columbus. They choose only to remember the positive aspects of the exploration of trade routes which morphed into a conquest of an entire continent.

Since I am of European origins I certainly would prefer to remember only the most positive of accounts of my forefathers and their discoveries. I especially like the versions I was taught as an Elementary and Middle School student. I tolerated the High School version. Then, when of age, I was taught the more accurate version in College and beyond. Eyes wide open.

Some it would seem we want only the first accounts to be the only accounts. As difficult as it might be we cannot stay in such a vacuous bubble. While addition and subtraction are essential math concepts it isn’t long before we were obliged to master multiplication and division and still further math and logical concepts that, while informative in the first effect, have the ultimate effects of re-forming and improving our understanding of life and truth.

It is a imperative we continue to grow and expand our understanding of truth. We may get it wrong from time to time but we are not flies in amber – we must move and change and live! The gospel message must be reapplied again and again to the current state of life and respond to the Sign of the Times (Pope John XXIII in the Bull Humanae salutis).

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery (GAL 5:1-6). The direct reference is to the insistence of performing and receiving circumcision. Instead we need to grow – but not law rather only faith working through love.

Myth and sanitized stories are OK of themselves. Yes, we must always find the virtue in our ancestral Other and try to remember the best of them. In the same way the memory of sin, of plotting the wrong course, remains even after forgiveness! Why? Because the memory of sin is the forewarning of the future. We have done and but for the grace of memory will do again.

We must break out of this awful habit. Now to be sure, it takes effort to create a retelling that can incorporate the truth from multiple perspectives. Very painful at times. Extremely painful if you love your forefathers but recognize the unintended and nefariously intended consequences and actions.

But it is a journey we must take with openness and honesty. Accounting for the disparate viewpoints which will include an accumulated sense of disenfranchisement, disrespect and subjugation. How can one say ‘Sorry’ without knowing the harm inflicted at some reasonable level of detail?

Returning specifically to the gospel today and relating it to the Right of Conquest and the education of our young to believe a half-truth permanently – a state of perpetual mythology.

Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?

But Jesus provides for a balm that heals the victim and the perpetrator.

But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

National Reconciliation must include that which is ‘within’ – a changed heart and ‘wthout’ the Alms of reparation.


Deacon Gerry

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