Uncertain times are a call to build a better world, bishop tells police

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, delivers his homily July 1, 2018, at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas. Bishop Flores celebrated a Blue Mass June 24, 2020, for police officers and first responders in the same basilica at a time when law enforcement is being scrutinized nationally during racial injustice protests. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

As tensions continue to mount in the United States, law enforcement, police officers and first responders should not be disheartened and work to better themselves in service to their local community, said Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas.

Much like the Catholic Church, law enforcement “seems to only make the news when something bad happens,” Bishop Flores said in his homily June 24 during the diocese’s annual Blue Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas.

“And while that is a call for us all to examine ourselves and make things better for the future, we know that every day, much goodness happens. We shouldn’t forget that,” he told the estimated 300 officers and first responders present.

For decades, dioceses throughout the United States have celebrated the annual Blue Mass for law enforcement. The name comes from the traditional uniform color associated with law enforcement.

In his homily, Bishop Flores said that much like the previous generations of the 1940s and 1960s, this year’s generation will be spoken of in the future “with all the things that we’ve had to live through.”

“I hope in the future when they look back on us, they will say that there were many, in quiet ways, who faced this moment of pandemic and uncertainty and unrest with courage and compassion and with wisdom,” he said.

Like St. John the Baptist, who was chosen not to perform miracles or healings like Jesus but rather to prepare the way for Christ, all men and women are called to be witnesses of justice, fairness, compassion and especially love, he added.

“We are living in the age where people are quickly losing confidence that love even exists, much less justice,” Bishop Flores said. “And the only remedy for that — for us, you and for me, for all of us — is to kind of live it, speak it mercifully.”

“Yes, the law has to be enforced, but the law is for the sake of the human being, not the human being for the sake of the law and we always have to keep the human being first,” he said.

Bishop Flores reminded law enforcement officers their work is a daily act of selflessness and generosity that not only requires the help of God and their fellow officers, but also the local community they are called to serve.

“So much of what you do too often is to see some things that are very hard to see; people’s cruelty to other people and to address them,” the bishop said. “We need God’s help because it’s hard and we need to help each other. We were not meant to be alone.”

“Every day, sacrifices are made to better the lives of others,” Bishop Flores said. “And we should thank God for the grace to be able to do that. So, take heart; I encourage you to pray for the community, just like I encourage the community to pray for you because that’s what kind of holds us together. A sense of trying to make a better world a better place.”

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