A few days ago, I listened to the radio and watched television; I felt so sad at the amount of hatred and division that are being transmitted through the airwaves. I asked myself whether politics must be about attacking each other and pitting one group against another! The right hand always needs the left hand just as the left leg always needs the right one for balance. Yet, in our society, we seem to delight in differentiating ourselves from others as if the others should not exist, or that their existence is an uninvited intrusion into the “normal” way of living. For this reason, those who describe themselves as left-wing hate those on the right, and those on the right cannot stand those on the left. In all the situations where difference is so accentuated and perceived as an anomaly, the common humanity that unites all human beings appears to be completely annihilated or, at most, denigrated and reevaluated according to one’s prism of perception and interpretation.
It is to check a situation like this that the ancient Greek philosophers distinguished between substance and accidents. Substance is the essence of a thing; that which makes a thing what it is; it is that without which the thing wouldn’t exist. On the other hand, accidents are merely peripheral characteristics adhering on the substance. Accidents do not describe the inner essence of what a thing is; substance does. Examples of accidents are color, weight, size, height, etc. Thus, a flower is substantially a flower, but you can find them in different colors, sizes, and smells! It doesn’t matter the accidents that differentiate them, they all share in the essence of what it means to be a flower. In the same manner, a human being is a human being no matter where they come from, how they are or where they live, their color, size, weight, height, educational background, taste, or political affiliation; they may be the fetus in the womb, young, elderly, sick or healthy. These are merely accidents, and none of these accidents should detract from the substance of what a human being is. In all truth, All are One, and One is All! We are all deeply connected to each other more than we are willing to admit.
This profound truth is what God as Trinity of Persons tries to teach us. God is one, but in this Substance of being God, we have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; different in their persons but the same God! The Father is the Creator God, the Son is the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit is our sanctifier: Three Persons in One God. Just as we have three persons in one God, so we have many children whose Father is in Heaven. St. John boldly affirms: “My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is” (I Jn. 3:1-2).
We are all children of God in Jesus Christ, who reconciled all humanity to God, and created out of all the nations, cultures, languages and races one family: the Church (Eph. 2:13-15). For this reason “there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are ONE in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Our differences are like different flavors that enrich the taste of our humanity just as a variety of flowers beautify our garden with their differences. We therefore have the task of always asking for the grace to see the face of Christ in everyone we see, no matter who they are, where they come from or how they look. May we be open to this grace which our God, as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, is more than willing to grant us. Amen