After the election results were in, both Trump and Clinton called for the country to come together.

Trump said,

Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, to have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.

Clinton echoed these words,

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

We do clearly need to heal the wounds of division and overcome our deeply divided country.  I worry, though, that we cannot do this if we do not first name and attend to the wounds that are plaguing us.

On top of these wounds, inflicted on people by people with these biases, there are systemic issues that make the situation that much worse.

These are some of the “wounds of division”, and they should frighten us, given their depth.  They make any kind of genuine community or tolerance or public will seem all but impossible.  Political speeches about the need for unity speak of a genuine need but seem to gloss over the severity of the wounds.

Repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, these are the some of the most important tasks of the church.  They come from the ministry of Jesus.  They are one of the seven sacraments.  They are the kind of work Pope Francis has called for when he says that the church should be a field hospital.   As Christians, we should start now (and should have started long ago) with the task of asking forgiveness for our sins, encouraging those who sin to repent, and seeking out reconciliation between friends, families, neighbors, strangers, and enemies. We should do this not only for the good of those living in the United States but also because this is the form that love takes in our deeply divided world.