If you save one soul, you save mankind.
We came into this year with a degree of anxiety about many things and were challenged to chart our future. Perhaps the most pressing example of this for Tulsa was the commemoration of the 1921 Race Massacre and the search for the remains of those who lost their lives.
Collective guilt of this tragedy pulled us apart, with many asking why we should focus on the negative.
Mayor G.T. Bynum led the community with a belief that in finding the truth, the truth will set us free. Phil Armstrong set a course for healing with the dedication of Greenwood Rising and a focus on hope. Knowing our history gives us opportunity to learn and actively build the culture of the community where we raise our children.
In the last few months, it may seem as though attention has shifted from the Race Massacre to the resettlement of Afghans, but I see one Tulsa in these two separate stories.
As the human tragedy of the fall of Afghanistan came into focus, Tulsa stood up, stepped forward and embraced the opportunity to love.
This opportunity stretches us to be present to a people who do not speak our language, know our customs or worship as most do in eastern Oklahoma.
Even so, the love He has for each of us overflows to the extent that we can’t help but love those we don’t even known and perhaps those we believe we don’t like.
Adam Pasque, Ray Penny and many other veterans expressed the Afghans’ commitment to the American soldier. The governor, mayor and congressional delegation heard their stories and welcomed this new workforce into our community.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber offered a platform to ready businesses who have openings for families to gain healthy independence through work.
Our Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic communities, without exception, clamored to outdo each other in charity, locked arm-in-arm to provide hospitality.
Each congregation in its own way came to the understanding that it was right and just, our duty and our salvation at all times and everywhere to give thanks to the Lord for this opportunity to see the dignity of every person.
Health care, schools, foundations and social service agencies in their altruism did the same.
What had been lacking a century ago in love for our neighbor is now modeled by Tulsa with superabundance. Each of us act as trustees of the common good and must provide stewardship to its maintenance.
With thanksgiving for these gifts, we can use what we have learned, professed and now practice to tackle many questions that are yet unanswered. Tulsa has the capacity to take on even the greatest challenges.
As His creatures we eternally cry out, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalms 136:1
This Thanksgiving, be thankful. Be filled with gratitude that we are given this moment to love.
Deacon Kevin Sartorius serves the community as CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma.