Discrimination has been very much in the news over the last 50 years. I remember hearing about the race riots in 1968 (I was away in the U.S. Navy at the time). And hardly a day goes by that you don’t hear about some form of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination. In today’s reading from the Letter of James (James 2:1-5), we hear of a different kind of discrimination. It’s called favoritism. St. James describes a rich man fashionably dressed with gold rings entering an assembly and being well received. Whereas a poor man who enters the same assembly being rudely treated. They should both be treated with respect and dignity since they are both created in the image and likeness of God. Of course, it’s natural to behave like the assembly as we are attracted to some people and unattracted to others. Still we are rational creatures, and our minds should override our feelings. That’s why God gave us one.
However, there are times when our failure to discriminate leads us astray. Power and money can blind us from seeing the difference between good and evil, obeying the law or skirting the law, going along with the crowd or going away from it. In the news, we see how those failures to discriminate have resulted in tragic consequences for those who fail to do so.
Let us pray for an end to unjust discrimination and the wisdom to discriminate between sinful and unethical moral choices. We will be happier if we do.