by Sister Francis Bangert
Sunday's readings present the Divine challenge and the human response. We can identify with Jeremiah as he struggles to be faithful to the call because that is often our response. Discipleship is tough, yet rewarding. Jesus minces no words in the Gospel. Deny selfishness, take up the cross, and follow. But why? But where?
Martin Luther King Jr. expressed it in another way: “A person who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Leaving behind our “me-first” attitudes and embracing a new way of life is marked by caring about the needs of others. Only then can the Spirit of the Risen Jesus flourish so that every human being knows unconditional love, peace, justice, goodness, truth, beauty -- the kingdom of God. Jesus worked and died for God’s dream; Dr. King modeled discipleship for all of us.
Who or what am I willing to “die” for … to go out of my comfort zone to show care for and about?
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the HOPE that belongs to our call. (Sunday’s Gospel Acclamation, Eph 1:17-18)
Beautiful reflection, Sister Fran! Thank you for reminding us that we need to be intentional in the ways we spiritually grow.
I think people who decide not to be me-first, and to live for others, have to be careful they not respond to EVERY hand that's out. That sounds harsh, but we can't give what we don't have and most of us aren't equipped to be drained dry, like some of the saints. I think most of us can be drained a bit more than we are, though; most of us can find a little more time and treasure to share; to find the patience to put up with a few more boring people to listen to because they need to talk, or a few more irritating people to forgive because they, too, need love. I know I sure could improve! But, like St. Mother Teresa, no matter how much we give, if we're not doing it ultimately for Jesus, and if we're not spending time with him to replenish our spiritual energies, we won't be able to do it. "Keep me mindful of you, Lord, all through the day."
Dear Sister Fran, Thank you for your challenging words!
I have used the words from your reflection to write a heartfelt prayer: 'Risen Jesus' please forgive me for my 'me-first attitudes' and 'selfishness'.Through Your 'unconditional love', I trust in your mercy and 'goodness.' Jesus, as my 'truth and justice', please reveal to me your strength so that I may follow the path of discipleship that you have planned for me. Sister, thank you for your thought provoking reflection! Sending you millions of prayers, through Jesus,
It's really great to hear you acknowledge MLK, Jr. as a worthy and well-known disciple of JC, Fran. "Thank you!" I had been of the understanding that the Green Bay / Brown Cty. / WI area was pretty well 'into' honoring and respecting Dr. King and all his good work on behalf of civil rights, social justice, and non-violence. In recent years, however, I have come to see how many of our local, 'traditional' institutions, including Catholic schools, do not regard him as being someone to include as a role model and martyr in living the teachings of JESUS. This has become very concerning to me, as I see more and more how those who have actually 'converted' to social justice activism and non-violence as a way-of-life, including Oscar Romero, are not really being 'taught' in our Catholic schools. I see a great need for 'conversion' in our communities of 'faith!'
Sister, thank you for these beautiful words and my prayers and thoughts are always with all the other sister who post these reflections.