Priest’s message still resonates, decades later

Published 1:54 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

There are very few days when I say this, but today it is the one thing on my mind.

I am so thankful I never had children. I’m thankful not because I don’t love children, but because I was really glad I didn’t have to worry about them in context of this week’s events.

Because as I have talked with people today and struggled to make sense of Baton Rouge and Minnesota and Dallas; as I have sought the counsel of attorneys and editors and ministers whose reasonable voices I trust; as I have searched for what needed to be printed in this community’s paper, I keep coming back to this.

We need to hear from mothers.

We need to understand the fear that mothers of black children and brown children who have taught their sons and daughters to respect the law feel when their sons are away from them.

I heard a CNN interview Thursday afternoon in which an African American anchor shared that when he lived in Atlanta, he talked to his mother every night on his way home from the studio. Even though he drove a Mercedes and lived in a nice neighborhood, his mama feared for his live, and wouldn’t hang up until she heard the door to his home close behind him.

We need also to hear the perspective of a mom or a wife who sends her son or daughter off daily To Protect and Serve. Even in the best of times, I cannot imagine how scared they must be from the start of the shift until the end; how many times a day or night they must wonder, “Is he OK?” I’m certain the normal angst escalated yesterday, and I feared for and with them for the officers they love.

We need to share the pain the mothers of all of this week’s victims are feeling, because that pain is both symptom and side effect of something festering in our country.

Perhaps the best homily or sermon I’ve ever heard was delivered by a beloved Irish Catholic priest, Father Peter Cunningham.

Father Peter talked about when someone comes to church with a newborn.

“They are surrounded by people who ooh and ahhh and say, ‘Oh, what a beautiful baby,’ ” he said.

“We are all God’s children,” he said. “In His eyes, we are all still beautiful babies.”

Perhaps if we consider current events from a mother’s perspective, we might be better able to see that every single life does matter, because everyone is someone’s grown-up, beautiful baby.

Muslim. Immigrant. Black. White … Criminals. Saints. Cops. Poor people. Even presidential candidates.

All of them, beautiful babies.