A Message from Bishop Deeley for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On January 16, the nation will pause to honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an important motivator of the civil rights movement who did not ask for a confrontation with hatred but faced this ugly reality with hope and the dream of better days.

He believed that each American deserved full civil and political rights and that when that elusive reward came, it would be the product of commitment, willpower, and desire, common characteristics of the human spirit for all times.

Sadly, our own time is marked by anger, hostility, and the inability to even listen to viewpoints differing from our own. Reverend King’s hopeful message remains as relevant today as it was six decades ago. As a preacher of the Gospel, he saw the Christian message as a way forward; its call to unconditional love and acceptance of the neighbor was the reason for his hope.

In respect for his teaching and impact, let us recommit ourselves to doing what we can to replace hostility with gladness in bringing about “miracles in the hearts of men.” Conflict and disagreement are inevitable, but the Gospel is greater. As Reverend King did before us, let us learn from the teachings of Jesus to seek out the good in each other and bring healing, understanding, and reconciliation to our world.