Watching the funeral today of Rosa Parks I was struck by how many of the speakers referred to her faith, meekness and humility.
These are the true hallmarks of a Christian.
In our turbulent age of hatred, wars, terrorism, riots, political leaders of all stripes in all nations and at the United Nations dishonouring us with their wasting our freedom by constantly attacking each other rather than effectively serving the human family, an ordinary woman, laid to rest today, stands out as a true servant of the people.
Without being elected to any official office she did with quiet dignity what politicians claim to be doing: assuring true freedom.
This woman of faith and dignity, this working woman, did the most simple and natural of things a tired body does at day’s end on public transport: she sat down and in her sitting down a whole oppressed people stood up!
The over reaction to her simple gesture shows how the agents of hate and terror are more frightened of the ordinary dignity of good people than they are of massed armies or police forces.
Wherever we are challenged by the forces of darkness, hatred, terror, we must go back to the woman on the bus, to any and all examples throughout history – most especially to Jesus – of those who overcame evil, terror and death by BEING a real person of simple, humble, meek and unconquerable dignity.
This day of her funeral is also the day when we Roman Catholics pray for the salvation of all the dead, All Souls Day – be they family members, friends or enemies.
Jesus tells us there is no greater love than to lay down our lives for our friends. To my heart when Rosa Parks sat down on that bus she was indeed laying down her life for her friends.
Thus on this day when we remember Rosa Parks, and all the departed, it is good to remember the promise of Jesus, who crossed through the valley of death before us and conquered death by His own death: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house….I am going to prepare a place for you. I will come back for you and take you with Me, that where I am you may be too.” [cf. Jn.14:1-3]