Loving, and Hating

Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Loving v. Virginia case that redressed the violation of rights of Mildred and Richard Loving who were imprisoned for marrying each other. They were arrested for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation law that prohibited interracial marriage, a statute that was rooted in fear and age-old views of race. Today, it is estimated that one in six married couples is interracial. Despite the half-decade that has passed, racism still rages as a dangerous cancer within the body of our nation.

Monday also marked the one-year anniversary of the terroristic shooting that killed 50 and wounded 58 others at a gay dance club, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. Mildred and Richard’s surname points ironically to the central issue of their case. Similarly, the moniker of the nightclub has a painful irony, for the pulse points to the flow of life-giving blood that stopped through evil in the massacre. Such hating is subhuman.

In the Loving case, two people held each other’s body and heart and cares for life. In the hating case, the Pulse murders, innocent people were exterminated, and their families still mourn. These two moments in our nation’s history remind us how far we can travel to heal wounds and how far we have to travel to heal fresh wounds that come from old infections.

Sunday marks the great Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Indeed, this feast points to the beauty and grace within the Eucharist and the church. It also reminds us that our God had a human body through which human blood coursed. His pulse raced when he confronted the evil of watching innocent people marginalized, harmed, or hurt by injustice. He wept when friends died and was moved with pity when he saw others suffer.

In his loving, Jesus railed against hating.

Faithful Christians work to quell any hatred within us, yet as a body some of our members may hold attitudes that stand closer to hating than loving. Our response to these perspectives can be challenged. Few like to confront an idea that may be racist, sexist, nationalistic, or homophobic. Yet, when we are nourished by the body and blood of Jesus, this grace can be an elixir to induce love. Since we believe we are receiving Jesus’ blood and body, doesn’t his grace infect us and aren’t we subsequently fortified to be stronger and more courageous and loving? May his clarity inspire our charity, as we advance love over hate—in all its forms.