There comes a time when old, favorite pieces of clothing must be discarded. Not even good enough to donate, the sweatshirt from our alma mater or those favorite pajamas purchased during a London vacation, softened to perfection by years of laundering, must finally be discarded. They might offer comfortable nostalgia, but in reality no longer fit or serve us well. It can take an achingly long amount of time for us to let go, but with Jesus there is always the promise of something new that is more life-giving.

So it is with ideas. It can take a long time to discard old ways of relating to others, locally and globally, in favor of something new.  Today, as we honor the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded of his eloquent preaching of Christ’s desire for peace and unity. Evil, operating under the guise of good, has convinced many civic leaders that increasing militarization is essential for those who “protect and serve” to carry out their sworn duties. Yet officers and citizens alike are being shot and killed, rending the fabric of our communities. Many, especially the young, are echoing the plea of Dr. King to put down arms of war and embrace each other with arms of humanity. Can we heed their call?

—Jenéne Francis, is Provincial Assistant for Pastoral Ministries, Chicago-Detroit Province and Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus