After a couple of incidents of hate against Indians in America, Fr. Vijay poses a challenging question - how do we respond to fear and hatred?
over a week ago in Kansas City a man walked up to two other Indian and yelled get out of my country. And then he pulled a gun on them and killed one of them and injured the other. The two men that we're sure we're no different than any of us there from Hyderabad. A similar area of India as ours. They worked in the it field as many of you do. anti-violence Health shot Are Indian Community? It's a senseless tragedy. The incident has been publicized as a sign of the changing environment within America the place that we call home now. And I don't know if it's true. I don't know if things are changing as the environments changing if people are becoming more prejudiced or racist or if it's something that we should expect to see more of these types of events. I hope not. On Friday this week in Kent Washington. Another Indian man was working on his car outside his house when a man approached him saying go back to your own country. And then pulled a gun on him then shot him in the arm. Ignore these events and I don't like to promote fear. I don't I don't like I was debated whether to even bring these incidents up to our communities within today. Like to preach fear, I don't think we need to fear because you're clearly says that we have nothing to do with one thing. What is the one thing we have to fear fear gone? Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but I'd much rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body. Matthew chapter 10 verse 15 So do not fear for I am with you do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 I can go on and give you so many and over and over again do not be afraid. Do not fear. So we shouldn't be afraid. The weekend before the Kansas City shooting and I were attending a pan Orthodox conference call the momentum and it's great to have a lot of different the Orthodox Church is Coptic Ethiopian even some Russians in Greece were there and as well have me believe they were expecting the Indian Orthodox Church. It was a very interesting conferences for that Year's conference was the value of diversity in the church. The early Church in the first centuries after the resurrection of Jesus Christ was an amazing amazing. Events because what happened was that Community was different than any other community in the church. What are you have? You have every single every single person invited So after the Council of Jerusalem when Gentile were allowed into the church used that it exploded into this diversity. There was a diversity in the church because you would see gentlemen juice together, but you would see men and women together. You would see the poor and the rich man worshipping together. getting each other to kiss a p sharing from the same cup and plate it was an amazing thing that was unknown before that. We're all different types of people came together and reunited with unity. Garden Unity that was in the church was that about uniformity? It was about diversity there was unity in night in that diversity. The beauty of the church is that in the united is not defined by uniformity if I diversity and something that has the Orthodox Church need to reclaim. That was a really great conference in after the conference at will we we left early so we can be here Sunday morning, We're an American University one of the nicest universities in Washington DC. And so we were in Washington DC was nice and we decided at 3 to 4 hour drive back. Let's get some like pick up some dinner before so we can eat on the drive back. So we walk out of the university and we're walking to different places to go to eat for arguing over what you want to eat. She wants one place. I want another place before you go there I go here and we need to pick up her own. I didn't leave my food first and come back to where she's getting her food. And now I see I don't want to enter this restaurant with some other company of other places food beautiful February weather in a great weather nice night, you know, it's beautiful city. walking around 50 feet away from a woman stops and it's staring dead at me. She's like looking at me like and I don't know what what would she you know, I have no clue what's going on the older woman and I just I don't know. What what would she thinking all the sudden? She starts speaking, but I can't hear that well. What are you starting to realize what you saying? And I realize other thing I realized that I was there at the time. So I'm thinking is she confused. And did you maybe she's confused about what I'm dressed and rested and then I hear the word get out of my country. I hear the words you don't belong your you should be locked up and I'm thinking. Know how to respond and I've been thinking about this since that time. How do I should have responded before I could say anything or do anything she walked in? She starts walking speed up so I couldn't go out there and I didn't want to leave then to go to my in the restaurant. So I let her go and just praying for her. For someone doing their hair after I just listened to a conference about how we're all supposed to be United in our diversity. tune. As I read and prepare for the sermon to the golfer gave me a little bit of directions and how to respond. How are we to respond to hatred and fear because of the color of our skin? Because of who we are who God made us to be how do we respond? St. Luke's gospel chapter 5 Jesus heals a leper. Now for the lepers lepers are our people who have a disease and at that time in this time of Crisis lepers are looked upon all the leprosy was looked upon as being highly contagious which we know now it's not but it was so mean to everyone that was highly contagious and no one wants it because your skin and it was something that look like you were going to die. leprosy you would be shocked. If you got leprosy your neighbors wouldn't want to talk to you. They would actually want you to move out. They would be cursing you and trying to get you to leave the town until lepers were known for starting your own communities being not being given. They were so societies Outkast and it was a lot of hatred and fear against lepers. In today's Gospel what we hear what we see what Jesus does is when Jesus encounters, the leper leper comes in prostrate himself before Jesus Christ in Pittsfield me. And what the temperature is Rocky says it says that Jesus stretched out his hand and touched. Doesn't seem like a big deal. But it is because leopards were not to be touched they were unclean. So it was a sin within the first pharisaic law that if you touch the unclean thing. That if we think it contagious we don't touch right we stayed awake. We're drove through Eden testimony the word. So, why does he need to touch this number? We don't know how long he's been a leper leper. Most probably no one is touched him. Most probably another Kim person handshake hug any kind of love or affection? except when Jesus Christ touches the first time and the person who is socially Outcast physically Outcast a person who is hated and feared Jesus. Toy called love. We we we look at love as something of gooey gooey, but like not like about something that's not strong was not just love the love. He showed love in such a way that it was powerful. It was meaningful it was Jack response that we need to those who speak in fear This is not the love that we have. We don't have fear flow. We don't have fears love it within a fierce love comes from him. Cheers. Love is a powerful that it can you not God and man that is so powerful that regardless of being perpetrated. It is the law that continues the law regardless of what the reaction is. Hatred and fear should be this year's love this Mayhem with Sharpie and everyone of us to love to love with that the love of God to love the lepers. for struggling with the physical disease of leprosy and today we pray for them. Today we pray for those who are the physical leprosy. multiple rows for social lepers what I mean by social lepers those who are Outcast those who are persecuted. We might be one of those people one day. I hope not soon. But we have to look upon those who decide. Who's the pain? And we need to respond to the love of Christ. We don't have that ability love like that are spelled we need God and so I can food today by reminding you that that love comes from God and there's certain things about that if you really want. To respond with Fierce love if you really want to take this hatred and fear that is starting to provide our society and do something about it. We loved a price for that. Love of Christ comes from only went one way and we know that this from st. Mark's gospel chapter 9 because they can't count. A Daemon spell Jesus given them the ability to cast out demons and they come to one voice cast out the demons the people can you do something and Jesus goes and cast them out and then afterwards It says in the scripture when Jesus was alone in the house with the disciples the disciples asked Jesus. Why couldn't we cast out the evil spirit in Jesus replied Vinton kind? Can be cast out only by prayer and fasting. I don't know what evil spirit has grasped the community that allows the two men in Kansas City and now this man in Washington. to be Attract, I don't know kind of evil spirit that is that Mike bully our community and our people or any people that are different. But I know that the only way to cast out that demon that evil spirit that is over. Is by prayer and fasting? And said that is what we need to do. If you need encouragement for these 40 days of the Holy and great lent. This is your encouragement. For fierce love to come on the community fears love that unites us like at United the early church fears love that doesn't have man and woman. That doesn't bring the men and women the Gentiles in the Jews. It brings together the poor the rich the Indian the Pakistanian the Jews. The blacks the white it brings together all people immigrants and those who have been born here. It brings together in love in the fierce. Love of God. Let us pray and fast furious love to be in our hearts all glory and honor to the father and to the son and to the Holy Spirit.