Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
May 25, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings challenge us.
Jesus talks about the kind of blowback his disciples can expect for living their faith in an inimical world. He gives us some “if … then” statements:
- If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
- If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.
- If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
Reading these verses makes me wonder if I am really living the Gospel, because I don’t feel all that persecuted.
And then I think that this is because I really live in two worlds. I live in first world comfort and security. But there is also a part of me that agonizes daily over the injustice rampant in our shared world. Today’s Gospel challenges me to live more intentionally in that second world.
Walter Brueggemann says this:
Faith is both the conviction
that justice can be accomplished
and the refusal to accept injustice.”
– Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out
Jesus was not persecuted simply because he did miracles and preached love. This loving, life-giving ministry confronted the dominant, government-generated culture which relied on the subjugation and despair of those they dominated.
Jesus, just like other prophets, was killed because he gave hope to a people whose freedom threatened the status quo comfort of the dominators. Just like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Oscar Romero , Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Wang Zhiming , the Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek (All names are clickable to find more information.)
I don’t aspire to martyrdom. But I do want to be a true disciple of Jesus. The way available to us is to live and act with mercy and compassion for the poor, marginalized people Jesus so loves. We can do this by voting, advocating for, and sponsoring programs and agendas for social justice. This link from the Sisters of Mercy is a help on how to do that:
Brueggemann also says this:
Compassion constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt is to be taken seriously, that the hurt is not to be accepted as normal and natural but is an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness. In the arrangement of “lawfulness” in Jesus’ time, as in the ancient empire of Pharaoh, the one unpermitted quality of relation was compassion. Empires are never built or maintained on the basis of compassion.” (Prophetic Imagination)
May our hearts be moved by grace to the depth of compassion we have learned from Jesus.
P.S. I know that many of you have responded to this request I placed on Facebook. Thank you. For those who don’t do Facebook, this is an urgent request for help for refugees at our southern border. It’s an easy way to do some good things.It was received from Sisters of Mercy Leadership Team in D.C.
Music for today is below this request.
Music: Compassion- The Gettys