CNA Staff, Jun 9, 2020 / 06:58 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles asked the parishes of his archdiocese to toll their bells for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Tuesday to recognize the life of George Floyd on the day of his burial, calling for a renewed commitment to racial justice.
Floyd, 46, was buried in his hometown of Houston. He died on May 25, after an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department knelt on his neck for a period of eight minutes and 46 seconds. The arrest was filmed by onlookers, and the officers have since been arrested and charged with murder.
In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, large protests erupted throughout the country demanding justice for Floyd, as well as for other people of color who have been killed by the police.
“We need to make sure that George Floyd did not die for no reason. We should honor the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill our nation’s sacred promise — to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all,” said Archbishop Gomez in a statement released by the archdiocese.
“Let us pray together for the soul of George Floyd, and for his family. And let us pray for all those who are working to put an end to racial injustice in our society.”
Gomez requested that the parishes of his archdiocese celebrate a Mass in memory of Floyd, and pray for the repose of his soul and for his family.
Drawing on the Gospel reading, which spoke of a “city set on a mountain,” Gomez said in his homily at Mass on Tuesday that the United States still has much work to be done.
“America’s founders used these words of Jesus today to describe their hopes for this new nation. They wanted this country to be a shining city on a hill, a light to other nations,” said Gomez, in a homily that was delivered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
“America’s founders dreamed of a nation where men and women from every race, religion and national background could live in equality, with dignity. My brothers and sisters, it is our responsibility to keep building this city on the hill,” he said.
The history of the United States, said Gomez, “is not pure.”
“We have not always lived up to our deepest values or our highest ideals. We all know that,” he said.
The archbishop called on people to “renew our sense of purpose” and to “commit ourselves again to making America a land of freedom and opportunity for every person.”
“God does not see black or white. God sees only his children. And he loves each one of us, no matter what the color of our skin is,” he said. It is the duty of Christians and Catholics “to bring this truth to our society,” he added.
In Tuesday’s first reading, the prophet Elijah told the widow “do not be afraid.”
Gomez explained that people should take the words of the prophet Elijah to heart and “not be afraid, either.”
“God goes with us in this moment. Let’s ask him for courage and wisdom,” he said. “God is calling us to be a light to our neighbors.”
“We need to stand together and walk together, as brothers and sisters. We need to strengthen our families, give hope to our children,” he said. “We need to create a new culture of virtue and communities of compassion and care, in which we cherish our common humanity.”