Day 20: Working for Justice Amidst Suffering

Today’s Mass Readings

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Last Sunday, on the way to mass at St. Sabina on the South Side of Chicago with some students, I reflected: What today would make the Spirit burn within us? the famous black preacher? the powerful music? a parishioner?

24471829342_824cb34a27_zFor me, God used the voice of a local man who worked tirelessly for the release of the video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald. Brandon Smith said that he was not “a holy man,” but that even in a time of personal difficulty he could “do holy things.” He reminded me that we do not need to be in a position of personal strength before we act on behalf of racial justice and social inequity.

Today, a young Israelite girl, abducted and enslaved by a foreign military leader, becomes the voice that initiates the story of his healing and conversion to trust in her God. Despite her own oppression she acts on behalf of her enemy through her brave cooperation with the work of God’s Spirit. Today, Jesus is rejected, almost killed and then driven out by the community which had given him life and yet he still does not give up his ministry.  

We know that God’s Spirit cannot be silenced, disempowered or killed, but do we know that it can even work though us in times of our own suffering?

Reflection questions

  • Do I continue to work on behalf of racial justice in and through my own suffering or do I think that only when I “get it together” I will be an effective tool for God?
  • Do I put myself into places and situations where I can work on behalf of racial justice?
  • Do I listen to and work to raise the voices of oppressed peoples and their allies who seek to build a more just society?
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