Leaders from Christian, including Bishop Smith, Muslim, and Jewish traditions spoke about the insipient disease of racism in our area. Following the prayer gathering we were invited to join in a peaceful protest marching to City Hall. I am not one prone to march in demonstrations, yet at that time it seemed apropos to do so. As we marched the St. Louis City Police stopped traffic so that we could safely make our way up Market Street. When we dispersed after the short gathering in front of City Hall, and as I made my way back to my SUV, I stopped and thanked each officer I encountered for protecting us as we marched. None of us, except Jason Stockley, knows what happened that fateful night in 2011 when he shot and killed Anthony Smith; and I respect the right and privilege of citizens to peacefully protest the decision handed down last Friday. On the other hand violent protests and equally violent reaction by those in law enforcement is not the way to battle this specter of racism that continues to pervade the St. Louis region.
I call upon each of us to examine his/her conscience concerning the venom of discrimination that pervades our society. If you find yourself profiling others because of race or ethnic origin, speaking is a disrespectful manner about those who are different from you, or other things please ask God to help you. Such thoughts/judgments and actions are sinful and violate the commandment from God to love each other as we would be loved ourselves. All of us are loved and cherished by God and God desires all of us to love each other. The “Jesus Prayer” is one that I often pray myself. “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Pray this prayer whenever you find yourself acting in a manner that is not consistent with our call to be ambassadors of Christ.
~ Fr. Al Jewson