Today’s post is from guest contributor Maka Black Elk (Oglala Lakota). Maka is the Executive Director for Truth and Healing at Red Cloud Indian School, a Jesuit K-12 school in Pine Ridge, SD. He is an alum of Red Cloud and continued his Jesuit education at the University of San Francisco. He later earned his master’s degrees in Peace Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and in Educational Leadership at the University of Notre Dame. You can find out more about the work he does at Red Cloud by clicking here.
Today’s liturgical readings can be found by clicking here.
As Holy Week descends upon us, today we’re reminded of the celebration of Jesus as He made His way into Jerusalem and the multitudes drew around him to cheer. As the religious leaders chastised him to keep the disciples quiet, He responded, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” Nothing can keep the joy of salvation from proclaiming itself to the world. The very earth itself would sing His praise.
I think of Jesus’ words in the context of a wave of legislation in the U.S. that is attempting to attack the most vulnerable in our LGBTQ community. The transgender community in particular is facing a world where they cannot play sports, cannot use bathrooms, and cannot receive the gender-affirming healthcare they need. The LGBT community has always existed since time immemorial and many have tried to silence us before. But we know that it will not work, for we cannot be kept silent. Too much joy and salvation are present in the comfort of our communities and our identities. We exist and that can never be changed.
Yet there is no denying the harm that will befall people who will be directly impacted by these laws. Is there any way to be positive in regard to this context. I take hope in the ways in which many advocates have risen up to meet these challenges and push for justice for our transgender communities, especially many transgender folks themselves. The work is vital to a future of equity. All those who commit themselves to this work should remember the quote from today’s Gospel reading for the Blessing of Palms: “The Master has need of it.”
At times of turmoil like this, many turn to the Blessed Mother for an example of how we can keep up our strength. In today’s long Gospel reading, we’re reminded also of the horrific journey Christ took in the midst of His passion going ultimately to the cross and to His death. Standing on the sidelines suffering as she watched her son face torture, pain, and death, our Blessed Mother is an example of perseverance. She was there even as other disciples abandoned Him.
We may not all feel powerful enough to make the changes in society that are needed at this moment. We may not all have the resources to join with those fighting for justice on the front lines. But there is a power in being there for those in need. Standing as supports is an especially important task for parents and family members, both biological and created, of young LGBT folks. Be there, stay with them, support them, show your faith and love in them. Show those facing deep persecution for who they are that you stand with them just as the Blessed Mother did for her Son.
Let us show the world how even the stones will cry out.
—Maka Black Elk, April 10, 2022