Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Set the Earth on Fire

By Beth DeCristofaro

But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Luke 12:49)

Spirit of God,
give us the openness, deep within us to recognize, daily, all people as made in your image and likeness.
Help us to learn from one another the ways of being fully alive, at peace with ourselves and with those around us.
Give us the courage to transform those parts of ourselves and our world
that separate and create enmity.
Help us to take steps to stop the cycle of violence in our homes, in our workplaces,
in our neighborhoods, in our country, in our world.
May we be open to our deepest yearning for a world alive with your justice and truth, to dream of a society where all are treated with respect, and, with the power of your Spirit, to take steps to bring it about.
  Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Day after day we receive tragic news that causes us to shake our heads or clench hands tight in anguish. Many times these accounts are followed up by stories of individuals and communities reaching out to those who were hurt, displaced, lost, or attacked.  Although it is appalling that so many atrocities occur, it is hopeful that people continue to step forward to respond.

In a reflection from “Give Us this Day”, Kate Ritger describes what it means to be “rich toward God”.  Ritger says “If I am rich toward my sister, I make visiting her a priority, I listen carefully when we talk on the phone, I appreciate who she is and I share important parts of my life with her.  Being ‘rich toward God’ asks us to extend that generosity, intentionality and vulnerability to the world, especially the poorest and most vulnerable around us.”[i]

Imagine if we were to make visiting the homeless a priority.  What would happen if we listened carefully to someone who has been incarcerated or is tormented by mental illness?  What if we appreciated a person with whom we have significant differences or shared our lives and even our homes with someone who has had to flee their own home?  The world would blaze with a love inspired by Christ even as the world is divided against itself, suspicious of such a love. 

Christ asks us to love, one at a time, a neighbor, a person, a living sister or brother not an abstract.  Who might I stretch myself to meet?  Tiny fires unite into magnificent blazes in Christ.

[i] “Rich in What Matters”, Kate Ritger, from Give Us this Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, Liturgical Press, October 2015, p. 196.

No comments: