UP Catholic 10 27 2017 E Edition Page 8

8 October 27, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org Sitting or kneeling during anthem won't change social injustice Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16 Father Rick Courier, You are indeed a reflection of God's love, and we want you to know how very much we appreciate you, and all that you do for us, in every season of our lives. Parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Thomas the Apostle Father Rick Courier Reverend Michael Ocran Holy Redeemer Parish Birch Creek Father Michael, We are very grateful to have you here with us. Thank you from your parishioners! T here were a number of times I let my late mother down. One clearly stands out. I was attending a high school basketball game, and when everyone rose to their feet to salute the flag and sing the national anthem, I sat on the bleacher. Before I knew it, my mom grabbed me by the arm and, within seconds, I was standing at attention. When the anthem ended, my mom waved that familiar index finger in my face and said, When the national anthem is played, you stand and honor our country. We have freedoms because of that flag. Ive been proudly standing ever since. That was the 70s and civil unrest was everywhere. Come to think of it, weve had unrest for decades. The issues never go away. And in many cases, there continues to be legitimate reasons for the anger that divides this once-proud coun- try. I get it. This country is imperfect in many ways. But sitting or kneeling for the national an- them? Many of us could never have predicted the attention given to honoring or dishonor- ing our nation's flag and those who bravely fought for this country would supersede what transpires on National Football League foot- ball fields every Sunday. Yet, it has. Kneel to pray, stand for the national an- them. Social protests have been a hallmark of this country for decades. And, many minorities have valid points concerning racism and dis- crimination. Their voices have been drowned out for far too long. There is no denying that. Yet, I can't help but wonder how utilizing this platform on NFL sidelines is really going to make a meaningful difference. We need to bring attention to racism that is sadly bringing this country to its knees. Disre- specting the flag brings headlines, but does it amount to real change? Professional football players have a real opportunity to bring about change in their communities through mean- ingful dialogue bringing leaders together to look for solutions. Instead, all we see in 16 stadiums every week is a head count of who stood, who kneeled and who sat. What, if anything, is happening on Monday through Saturday to help build and form unity in America? Kneel to pray, stand for the national an- them. To me, getting on our knees in prayer would be a good Christian start for all of us. Justin Houston, linebacker of the Kansas City Chiefs, probably said it best. I feel like people are complaining about kneeling and people are complaining about standing, but I feel like its pointless... Theyre not changing anything, and I feel like prayer changes everything, he said in a recent arti- cle. Because I pray that we come together as one instead of being separate, Houston add- ed. You've got guys standing and kneeling. What are you kneeling for? Whats going to change? So I believe if we pray together, the more we get together, we come together as one in prayer, we can make a change. Amen. For the times, Bob Dylan sang, they are a-changin. It's scary. I pray NFL players using this platform of protest have the wherewithal to take their message to another level and seek peaceful dialogue to arrive at change. The flag will survive. It always has. Albert F. Chestone in What America Means to Me wrote: It does not hurt for I am a symbol of love and freedom. I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled in the streets of my country. And when it's done by those whom I've served in battle - it hurts. But I shall overcome - for I am strong. (Editor's note: LaJoie is a member of St. Paul Catholic Church in Negaunee. He wel- comes reactions to his column at jlajoie@ charter.net) FROM THE SIDELINES Jim LaJoie DISRESPECTING THE FLAG BRINGS HEADLINES, BUT DOES IT AMOUNT TO REAL CHANGE? PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS HAVE A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES THROUGH MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE BRINGING LEADERS TOGETHER TO LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS. Prayer to be disciples and missionaries In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary ... Lord you left your Mother in our midst that she might accompany us. May she take care of us and protect us on our journey, in our hearts, in our faith. May she make us disciples like herself, missionaries like herself. May she teach us to go out onto the streets. May she teach us to step outside ourselves . . . May she, by her meekness, by her peace, show us the way.

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