I must admit that my knowledge of this great man during his life was superficial. I was aware that he marched across the bridge in Selma and was unjustly beaten and arrested. I had hear of his association with Dr. King, but it was all in the background for me until the news of his passing.
Many people, unfortunately, allow themselves to be turned off to the recent protests because of the violence. Let me be clear, I in no way condone violence as a solution to injustice. At the same time violence is almost inevitable when there is injustice, here in the US or anywhere in the world. It can be a real temptation to stand above the fray and do nothing. We can rightly ask the question, "If not through violence, then how? Racism, white privilege, unfairness in the judicial system are real problems. As Catholics we need to be reminded that the last three Popes, at least, have denounced racism as a sin. We need people to inspire us and show us the way. In the past people like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others have been models for us.
They remind us that non-violence does not mean passivity. All of them stood up to injustice and paid a price for it. They did so through non-violent resistance. They did so by engaging in what congressman Lewis called "Good Trouble"
When the world finally moves beyond the COVID-19 crisis there will be a temptation to go back to normal, whatever that means. I don't think we can go back to what was, but rather to a hopeful new future in the Church, in our country, in our world. I am not speaking of a utopia. There will be no perfect world until the Kingdom of God in its fullness comes about. Nonetheless, in the meantime, the Kingdom of God is among us when there is love instead of hatred and when injustices are corrected. I think that Congressman Lewis can be one of the lights that guide us into a brighter future.