Intolerance. This, according to experts, was the main theme covered in Quebec media during 2017.
“It has had an effect on all the news,” according to Jean-François Dumas, president of Influence Communication. In an interview, he commented that “in 2016, fear was the key theme in the media; in 2017, intolerance was the recurring theme in Quebec news.”
Intolerance. It fuels wars, gives rise to persecutions, holds onto grudges. It divides families, communities and peoples. It assaults, hurts and kills.
Jesus died on the cross, a victim of intolerance. Leaders of that time could not tolerate the interest he garnered, the message he proclaimed, or his actions which spoke so powerfully. They could have entered into dialogue with him. They could have tried to understand him. It was easier to just get rid of him.
And yet, Jesus did not close the door on anyone. He engaged with people in authority like Nicodemus and with regular folk like the Samaritan woman. He visited the rich like Zacchaeus and Simon and shared table fellowship with the poor like Lazarus, Mary and Martha. As they nailed him to the cross, he prayed that his executioners would be forgiven.
“Love your enemies,” he said, and “do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6, 27–31)
Jesus did not only call for tolerance, but for love. He not only welcomed the other, he set out to encounter the other. How different the world would be if we put his teaching into practice, if we followed his example.
In a world marked by intolerance and by fear of the other, the resurrection of Jesus shines like a beacon which shows us a path of openness and trust. The God of Jesus Christ does not differentiate between us, he welcomes us all as his beloved children. Let us then live as brothers and sisters.
May 2018 be a year characterized not only by tolerance, but by a spirit of welcoming, deep respect and fruitful dialogue.
A blessed Easter to all.
+ Paul-André Durocher