33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Of course the list goes on with racism, plagues especially COVID, cutting of funds to public education, criminalizing mental health, black and brown people put in prison more often and longer than white people for the same offenses, escalating gun deaths.
So what do we do? This is what we do. We begin and continue to encounter God, listening to God’s word to us, discerning how to act to better the world. As Sr. Joan Chittister says, “The spiritually mature person does not rely on God for miracles. They rely on God for strength and courage, for insight and hope, for vision and endurance.” With God, then, we act not just by ourselves, but by joining with others.
There are many groups like Pax Christie, Brady against Gun Violence, Laudato Si movement, Southern Poverty Law Center, People against the Death Penalty, Metro Alliance for the Common Good (MACG), our own Justice Committee, and our own St, Vincent De Paul, and many others.
All these work for the alleviation of pain, suffering and injustice. They take one part of all the troubles in our day and work to alleviate those injustices. We do hear of many injustices being righted and the earth being cared for better. We can rejoice and get some energy to continue on.
Within it all is God, leading, suffering with, encouraging, loving everyone, giving compassion, love and mercy through the people who hear God’s call and work for the betterment of all. At times we hear and see what Malachi says, “For you who fear, [or reverence,] my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”
It also means taking the time to be with God by ourselves in contemplative prayer, or out in nature listening to God speak through nature to us, and also being with a community that prays, like our parish that gathers each Sunday to listen to God and to each other, supporting each other, while we also just have fun.
It is, as Pope Francis says of the Synodal Process, “That we place our trust in the Holy Spirit, who is now and always will be our advocate and guide.” So how do we persevere? Denis Grady ,OFS says, “The Lord, [through wisdom,] draws us closer to God in times of trouble.” Or as St. Therese the Little Flower says, “I see that it is enough to acknowledge our nothingness, and like children surrender ourselves into the arms of the Good God.”
If we surrender ourselves into the arms of the Good God, we have the Holy Spirit within us, right here, to be our advocate and guide. We need to continue to listen to the Spirit.
Then we can work for justice as Jesus did, with mercy, compassion, thoughtfulness, openness to other points of view, listening to those who disagree with us, and perhaps, but not always, negotiating workable solutions that really work for everyone, not just those who declare they are right and everyone else is wrong.
Sometimes, as Jesus noted, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
So we walk being in the arms of the Good God, speaking what the Holy Spirit gives us to speak, and persevering in walking God’s way to change the world, without violence, but with love.
Thoughts to ponder:
The Breath of the Soul by Joan Chittister page 122 –
The spiritually mature person does not rely on God for miracles.
They rely on God for strength and courage,
for insight and hope, for vision and endurance.
Malachi : 3:20
For you who fear, [or reverence,] my name,
there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.
America (page 9) November 2022 – Pope Francis -
Synod process, place our trust in the Holy Spirit,
who is now and always will be our advocate and guide.
Living With Christ, November 2022, page 112 – Denis Grady, OFS
How do we persevere? The Lord, [through wisdom,]
draws us closer to God in times of trouble.
Give Us This Day, November 2022, page 140-141 – St. Therese of Lisieux
I see that it is enough to acknowledge our nothingness,
and like children surrender ourselves into the arms of the Good God.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
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We seek to respond to the call of the Church herself, that all the faithful are expected to reflect on God’s Word and interpret it back to the community.