Coming from another country I found it difficult to understand the problems of racism as it had been experienced in the United States in the past. Despite apparent advances and significant changes in recent decades, the reality of racism remains. And this is difficult to understand.

Martin Luther King’s vision is not just a dream. It is recognition of the plan that God has for us: that we are all equal in God’s eyes, that we are all sisters and brothers. History teaches us that we have worked toward that dream, and we have indeed made some progress, but we must continue to work until the promise of the dream is fulfilled. It is up to us, to each and all of us, who live in this time and place, to teach, to educate, to work for human rights in every aspect of society.

Father Sergio Noe Ovando

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

We start with ourselves: to understand and share with others that what is essential is rarely visible—“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” (The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).

Our essence is not our race or color, our gender, our language, our place of origin, or the attributes that we can see. What we are is more and if we cannot comprehend that, we fall into a world of superficiality, and we overlook what is most important in us. 

However, while we are equal in dignity and rights, we are different. In our work to bring the dream of Martin Luther King to fullness, we cannot forget that diversity also brings beauty to the world.

The essence of human beings is that all are created in God’s image. In the philosophical aspect is the spiritual soul that we have, the analytic thoughts that make us who we are. 

In the eyes of God, we are all equal, and united: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus… (Galatians 3:28).  

We continue to work for a world in which we live as brothers and sisters, with peace, justice and harmony for all, because the dream lives on in us, as it should throughout our society and our world. 

This Sunday, Jan. 15, the interfaith community will convene together again in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., at St. Mary’s Parish, 11 First St. in Gilroy, beginning at 3pm. We cordially invite you to join us and hope to see you there!

Father Sergio Noe Ovando is Pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Catholic Church in Morgan Hill. An active member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance, Father Sergio can be reached at [email protected].

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