This week we have a rich series of readings. We read from Psalm 63 with its poetic longing for unity with God: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God”. We have an insightful reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians emphasizing that all of humanity is one in Christ. We have a beautiful Gospel from Luke where Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) and Jesus goes on to describe a suffering Messiah, which is a much different expectation than the disciples had of the savior of the Israeli people.
This week’s reflection comes from Fr. John Predmore, S.J., a pastor for the English speaking diocese of Jerusalem in Amman Jordan. Fr. Predmore’s blog is a rich resource for Ignatian spirituality and one of my daily reads. Here is an excerpt of Fr. Predmore’s reflections for this Sunday. You can read the full blog here.
“Because of the extraordinary Christ event, some of us only focus upon his nature as one who is victorious over life and death and sin and despair. He is the strong One whose protection is all we need. This is the happy Jesus to whom we sing songs of gratefulness and praise, but it is not complete. The work of Jesus is not yet done. Seeing the suffering of the Cosmic Christ and the personal Christ requires that we be vulnerable to his grief and mourning and he invites us to make this personal. This sadness impels us to act to bring about a world more inline with Christ’s values.
Let’s look at the issues where Jesus must still endure great suffering. Make it a prayerful exercise to ask Jesus about these areas of society that present challenging problems to a faithful Christian. Ask him about the ways he is suffering today because we cannot live out the ideals that our faith sets forth. Have him show you where these ideals have broken down and have caused many to despair. Let him reveal the ways we are to respond to the brokenness of these spheres of life.”
Fr. Predmore then lists a number of current problems including family, life, community, economic, national and world that Christians are called to address. He then proceeds:
“The task of a Christian is daunting, but as Jesus illustrates in the Gospel, everything begins with our personal response to him. The old saying “All politics is local” can be applied to faith. We can be just in dealing with others, respect all life and work for the dignity of others, learn how to be forgiven and to forgive, solve problems without violence, educate ourselves and inform our conscience, pray for unity and peace, enact our penances humbly, and to continually respond to the question of Jesus, “Who do you say I am?” Our response will deepen our commitment to him and he might ask us to do a few things that make us uncomfortable. Christianity is not easy, but the personal friendship with Jesus will help us be free in our response to him.”