Hundreds celebrate legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. should not be reduced to a «purveyor of beautiful words,» said Youngstown Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, during a Jan. 16 homily commemorating the late civil rights activist.
«There’s more to celebrate, more to tell, more to live and more to change. The more is our story, inspired by this man, of continuing his mission,» he said. «The best way [to keep his memory alive] is to be active in the pursuit of justice.»
As King said, one needs to be «maladjusted» of the evils of this world. «The future of the world lies with the maladjusted.»
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted presided over the 20th annual Mass, organized by the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, at St. Mary’s Basilica.
«Dr. King’s life and word should rouse us to bring that biblical justice into the world,» Bishop Murry said.
The bishop said each of us should confront racism. «Inspired by Dr. King and his mission, we should the effort to come to meet and understand someone of another race, someone of another culture, and invite him or her to come and know us.»
It begins with confronting our own attitudes toward others, Bishop Murry said. Today, people of good will should also be concerned with equal opportunity, the bishop added.
«Dr. King warns us that, while the forces of good take no action, evil will not sit idly by. Evil will strive to conquer,» he said.
Equal opportunity will only happen when we dedicate ourselves to it in all areas of our lives — how we vote, who we hire, with the poor, our children and «in our unfailing defense of the life of unborn,» Bishop Murry said. «The last point is something that we as African Americans should have a special concern, in light of the fact that for many years our lives were seen as inconsequential as many a fetus in the womb is today.»
The life of Dr. King calls us to be activists for justice, he said.
«Dr. King articulate many storied ideas of who we can be as a people and as a nation,» the bishop said. «But those ideas are dead on arrival if we keep them on the pages of our history books or celebrate them merely once a year.»