Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Feb. 20, 2022

Reflection for Feb. 20, 2022

Challenge accepted?

Shaping the kingdom  of peace  means exercising peace 

by Sister Francis Bangert

Today we are again presented with important lessons for living a mature Christian life. The message is not with the usual sweet, comforting words but with challenging actions. Our teachers are David in the Old Testament and Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

In the first reading, David is given the chance to kill King Saul who, in ruthless jealousy, is pursuing David. David rises above the violent act of murder choosing instead to act respecting “the Lord’s anointed”. A life is saved. This kind of nonviolent action appears again in the Gospel. Jesus teaches by word and later by His own example that when confronted by hatred, hostility, the "enemy", one should act in such a way that will disarm the offender. To do this is to imitate the Holy One, who sends the sun and rain to fall on the just and the unjust: to imitate the Most High, Pure Love, who is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

This is a tall order from our Leader. We all recognize our usual behaviors when we are unjustly attacked or criticized for our ideas, opinions, or actions.  How do we begin to take on the mind and heart of Jesus and shape a kingdom of justice and peace? For a start:

  • cling to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life
  • release all bitterness and the need to be right
  • release the need to hate, to harbor division,    to seek revenge
  • embrace truth, humility and respect for the other which lead to peace and unity
  • give voice to unjust systems that keep persons in bondage

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (1874-1936) noted English writer, philosopher, and lay theologian once wrote:

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting  ...
It has been found difficult ... and left untried.”

Perhaps an upcoming Lenten resolution might be to explore how each of us still need to grow in order to be a mature Christian?


Sister Laura
02/18/2022 6:46 am

Fran, thank for your thought provoking reflection. When confronted by challenges the pause to refresh seems ro be a good rule to live by. Love the quote from Chesterton.

Monica Sawyn, Obl.S.B.
02/18/2022 9:31 am

I think it’s hardest when you ARE right, when people are spewing things contrary to the Gospel. And also hardest when it’s the little, seemingly inconsequential things that our families do or say. I think your first suggestion is the best of all: cling to Jesus. Picture him immediately, and respond knowing he’s at our side.

02/18/2022 11:42 am

+ + +

"Give voice to unjust systems that keep persons in bondage."

"Disarm the offender."

+ + +

For me, it is these two "LOVE COMMANDS" that cry out for my attention, and for my SEEKING WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING in how to go about doing both, at the same time -- 1) call out the injustice and the wrong/s that are hurting so many of the poor and the powerless, while 2) not resorting to hostility or violence, myself -- all the while not letting myself be intimidated, or bullied, or entrapped by lies, deception, or any other 'evil,' but rather to remain standing firm in the 'freedom of truth,' and the knowledge of God's requirement that God's Way-of-Life be made known upon the Earth.

I see a definite need for this kind of learning today. And I freely and most openly, call out for Holy Spirit's help.

As a woman-of-care, as a mother who vowed not to allow war (the military) and violence lure my children into terror-able situations that could never be un-lived, and even more-so now, as a GraMa of "SEVEN" Wonders-of-the-World :), I continue to cry out to the HOLY SPIRIT for every kind of healing and truth-making that we, In-Spirited CHRIST-IN-'s (Christ-in-us), will open ourselves up to in These days of 'living hell' for so many on this planet.

If I'm not speaking up for these, then I am not being true and faithful to God. Or even to myself, as another human being; as a fellow creation-of-God.


Sandra Heinzl
02/19/2022 1:18 pm

Thank you Sr. Fran You always have words of wisdom and such a gentle, warm smile!

Debbie Tahany
02/20/2022 8:58 pm

Thanks, Sister Francis. This Sunday's Gospel is SO hard to live. And it seems so many are worn down, worn this by the stresses of two years of Covid and all its uncertainty and consequences. Taking the high road, like David did, is never easy in the short run, but has its own rewards only I may ever know.

Sister Rose Jochmann
02/22/2022 2:44 pm

Thanks for your reflection on the challenge of living the Christian message when life is not smooth and easy. Your examples are helpful for shaping this kingdom of peace and justice. And, I like that quote from GK Chesterton!

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