August 13, 2022

“We Shall Overcome” is a famous song that just seems to touch the hearts of all people no matter the culture.  It has been used in many political contexts, but always in a way that links the heaviness of the world’s demands with the hopefulness implicit in human nature.  The song offers a constructive way to deal with the natural tension of living as individuals in society, and thus invites us to celebrate the paradox of a weight that is powerless to crush us when we confront it with our vulnerability.  The image of Jesus before Pilate comes to mind:  the full force of the Roman Empire juxtaposed with a single man, bound and beaten, who does not say a word (Mt 27:14).  One can almost hear “We Shall Overcome” playing in the background, as Pilate, standing in amazement (Mt 27:14), dumbfoundedly asks himself, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38).  The next time, therefore, a colleague takes aim at us, a family member slights us, someone cuts us off in traffic, or we simply feel the pressure mounting with each peek at our phone screen, we can choose to be like Jesus by standing tall and holding the line.  With our faces set like flint against stone (Is 50:7), we will in fact be in the constant mode of overcoming any obstacle that prevents us from realizing our deep dignity as children of the living God.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

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