One of the latest issues in the sports world that has been spoken of non-stop in the last 24 hours is the domestic violence occurrence by Ray Rice to his now wife Janay Rice (when the event occurred they were not yet married). Here is what she had to say about all the media reports:
“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.
“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his butt off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravens nation we love you!”
Taking her comments at face value her response should fill us with great sadness. In a world that is intolerant to others being judged and condemned Ray Rice is being cast as less than human and worthless. Yes, we should be outraged by his actions and the domestic violence going on in our communities. It is good that the Media is speaking about the horror and evil of domestic violence. However, at what point do we portray an individual unjustly? Justice is “that which is owed to another”. God has given each and every person human dignity. Each of us are created in the image and likeness of God. The Gospel Message is for sinners. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (cf. Lk. 19:10). We can and should judge actions but we owe each and every person the respect they deserve. Repentance and forgiveness are both significant aspects of the Christian Message. The Media thrives on the hype and drama of events like this one, but they are doing little good speaking about it in the manner they are. Ironically the individuals in the Media can be the harshest at judging others. Reminds me of what Jesus said: “You blind guides”.
Catechetical Take Away
1. Judge actions and speak of how are decisions/actions can separate us from God and our neighbor.
2. Acknowledge the dignity of each and ever person – we are so much more than the actions we do. Our value and worth goes far far deeper.
3. Forgiveness. A person is a person no matter what right? Ray Rice made a very serious error in judgement that has resulted in serious consequences. But he has expressed sorrow and could be just as repentant as St. Mary Magdaline or St. Peter. Pope Francis put in very well:
How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!
Let us pray for Ray Rice. Let us pray for those who perform acts of domestic violence to change their ways. Let us pray for a more merciful world where each and every person can come to know and respond to the Father who has great plans for us (cf. Jer. 29:11).