Fr. Tim's Reflections

November 3, 2020
Election Day

My Dear Parishioners,

In 1968, I had the chance to shake hands with Senator Robert Kennedy, candidate for the US Presidency at the time. He was in Portland, OR for the primary. Together with my sister, Anne, we stood outside on a wet afternoon, awaiting his arrival. A typical station wagon approached, and out he popped! Expecting a limousine, I was quite impressed. Two months later, his life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet after his victory in California.

Listening to him speak and in a steady rain, what he had to offer was so cleansing and hopeful. There was no arrogance or bluster in the man. Only empathy, vision and a desire to bring this nation together. I felt it in every word, weighed as they were with meaning and spoken off-the-cuff. I sensed a depth to him and as he spoke from the heart. Shaking his hand and as he looked at me in passing, I felt changed whereas before was non-plussed when it came to politics; unable to vote as it was for my age. However, Kennedy offered more than politics or empty rhetoric.

Staggering in the aftermath of Dr. King’s death and just weeks before, Kennedy was a kind of lodestar that offered a way of uniting without put-downs or finger pointing. A luminous message without arrogance or bluster. He offered a future, calling to our better selves, without pandering to a particular denomination or belief. An approach that reverenced the person whatever their skin color. That rainy afternoon in downtown Portland left my 16 year-old self feeling charged. It was electric and I was smitten, mesmerized, drenched!

Our times are not all that different, really. Though we are more anxious, I’m afraid, and without direction. To me, the malaise that plagues this nation has been misdiagnosed. We seem to be changing in that ‘we no longer care for anyone but ourselves’, according to David Brooks. We’re more afraid than hopeful. Gobsmacked as we are by this pandemic. At this moment, what can be done that will make a difference for ourselves as well as others?

Archbishop Etienne offers a viable alternative in his letter to us at this moment; one small step towards the light. Give ear to his words by putting what he suggests into practice at this tumultuous time.

My blessing and good wishes,

Fr Tim Clark, Pastor