On Tuesday, April 20, Judge Peter Cahill announced the decision of the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial: guilty on all counts. Archbishop Hebda stated, “The decision by a jury of peers punctuates the grief that has gripped the Twin Cities in these last months and underscores the soul-searching that has taken place in homes, parishes and workplaces across the country as we together confront the chasm that exists between the brokenness of our world and the harmony and fraternity that our Creator intends for all his children.”
My own reflection brings to mind Leviticus 16:1-34 where we read about the scapegoat ritual. This reading from the Hebrew Bible is the traditional reading on the morning of the Jewish Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur. In the text, two goats are presented to the priest, Aaron. One male goat is offered as a sacrifice. Aaron then places all the iniquities of the people on the head of the second goat and this goat is sent out of the community into the wilderness.
Those of us in the white majority might be tempted to see Mr. Chauvin as the scapegoat. Placing all the sins of racism upon him can allow us to feel that we have put behind us the brokenness that Hebda speaks of. This would be a mistake. His conviction does not free us from our obligation to work for justice.
Therefore, I am asking you to join Campus Ministry, Office for Mission and the Racial Justice Initiative today in the amphitheater outside Iversen Center for Faith for a Prayer Service for Peace and Justice. It will begin at 4 p.m. Let us gather in prayer and commit to doing our part so the harmonic bells of justice can ring throughout our land.
Father Lawrence Blake