We are in a time and place where the differences we treasure threaten to become poisonous division. It is vital that we reach for what we share, for what we have in common, and commit ourselves to civil discourse. The rhetoric to which we have been subjected in the social and political sphere is simply not worthy of what God created us to be, and ignores the humanity we share, our common needs, hopes, and joys. No – we are not perfect; we are flawed human beings – sinners, if you will, sinning every time we speak and act to separate ourselves from one another and from God. Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Lk 18:9-14) to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt; about a Pharisee who thanked God he was not like other people, denigrating the “others” and lifting up his own piety. This contempt is personal violence visited on another, or a whole class of people. And he spoke of a hated tax collector who, with humility and integrity confessed he was a sinner. Al prayed beautifully that we might learn to resist contempt and injustice non-violently, that we forgive as we claim forgiveness is due to us, and that we live in hope, rather than cynicism. May it be so.