Dominican’s Justice Awareness Mass was held Friday, January 21. The celebrant was school chaplain Fr. John Restrepo, O.P. Senior Holly Rantz gave the student reflection. (Read Holly’s reflection and see a photo gallery from Mass below).
Following Mass, Dominican’s annual one-week canned food drive kicked off with a video produced by Rebecca Wallace of the Dominican Catholic Identity Office.
This year’s theme, Dominican Has a Clue, was inspired by the board game Clue. Each class level was assigned a character from the game. Marking its 23rd year and the largest school food drive in the Greater New Orleans area, Dominican’s goal is 25,000 cans of food. On average 500,000 people receive food from Second Harvest every month – double the number they served before the pandemic.
8th Grade – Professor Plum
Freshmen – Mr. Green
Sophomores – Colonel Mustard
Juniors – Miss Scarlet
Seniors – Mrs. Peacock
Justice Awareness Mass Reflection
Holly Rantz ’22
Judgement. A sin I am all too familiar with. As humans our brains are trained to observe and based on those observations, make assumptions. I remember in grammar school the student council would go to deliver the Thanksgiving baskets to the front doors of those who had asked for them. Four of my friends, my mom, and I all loaded up two of the baskets in my mom’s car, excited that we were getting to skip a few periods of class. In our little sixth-grade minds, we assumed we would be driving up to people who obviously looked to be suffering. The homeless, the disabled, the chronically ill, those who, when looking at them, one could assume that they needed some extra help.
As we pulled up to the address my religion teacher had given to us, my friends and I grew confused. The house was modest, but well kept. The lawn was cut, the porch was clean, and there was a relatively nice car in the driveway. We rang the doorbell, and a middle-aged woman answered the door. Upon seeing all of these Catholic school children, she grew shy, and her face flushed. We handed her the basket and in unison said, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Without looking at us, she quickly grabbed the basket and muttered a weak, “thank you.” She quickly closed and locked the door, and all of us stood there in disbelief. When we got back into the car, we immediately started talking about the interaction. “She doesn’t look like she needs help!” my friend to the left of me exclaimed. “Yea! She even has a nice car!” cried another. “Yea, it’s not fair she gets one when there are others who have nothing” I complained. My mom then sternly said, “Girls, enough! That woman ordered a Thanksgiving basket for a reason, and it is none of our business as to why. Maybe she lost her job recently, or maybe one of her family members passed away, and she just can’t find the strength to make it to the store. It is not our job to decide who deserves the baskets, it’s our job to deliver them to the ones who ask for help.” We all sat there silent and ashamed of the judgmental words that had just left our lips.
To this day that event resurfaces at random times. When I judge someone for their clothing, their actions, or their words. Who am I to judge your situation? Who am I to say you deserve help, forgiveness, or God’s love? Who are we, as a community, to believe that our sins are lesser than others? All sins strain our relationship with God, but all of us, equally, have the chance to follow the path of forgiveness and peace.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Often, I, like the woman from my story, am deterred from asking for help in fear that I will be judged or ridiculed. If I don’t understand something in class instead of raising my hand, I simply bite my lip and nod. I know my teachers are there to help me, and I know they want me to understand the concepts and enjoy the class, but I’m afraid to swallow my pride and show weakness or a lack of understanding. Similarly, we tend to do this with God. We feel as though he expects us to be holy and perfect, and when we mess up, we hide in shame, instead of going to him and asking for help. He wants us to ask because he wants us to succeed. He loves us, all of us, equally and he is truly rooting for our success. Admitting your sins, asking for help, noting your faults is not weak. It shows an internal strength and self-awareness.
On the flip side, if someone asks for help, do not judge her, for she had the strength to put her pride aside and realize that she could not do it on her own. Do not shut her down, grow angry, or laugh at her pleas. Though she may be the smartest kid in class, you do not know what she’s thinking. Maybe she missed a lesson, or she fell asleep in class due to an all-nighter, or maybe she just doesn’t remember how to add fractions. Adding fractions is hard! All of that aside though, it should not matter the reason she is asking for help. As my mom told me, it is not our job to judge. Our job is to help those who ask for it. God will do the rest. We cannot judge because we all need help sometimes. No matter what you do or do not have, you have the right to ask for help. Be not afraid, for God will always help.