Here’s a quick quiz. Which of these people are you?
Do you tell people of all your good works?
Do you pray for God’s mercy because you recognize your own limits?
Are you prideful of your successes in striving for justice?
Do you express gratitude to God for the opportunities you have been given in this life?
Do you talk a big game of equity but live your everyday decisions distanced from the people you hope to be “fighting for”?
Do you recognize your inconsistent choices and bring your worries to God?
Jesus makes it clear in this parable found in Luke’s gospel: We are called to be in relationship with God, and with others. We are not called to tasks that distance us from one another, even if these tasks seem to be good! This humility—or acknowledgement of being in active relationship with God and God’s loving truth—is an invitation to a fuller life.
St. Ignatius furthers this call in his Meditation on the Two Standards. Do we find ourselves more readily available to join Lucifer’s team or Christ’s team? Lucifer fans our flame of independence. He uses the illusion of wealth to tempt us into believing that we are self-sufficient in this work of being in the world, that we do not need relationships.
Christ, on the other hand, cultivates a deep sense of belonging in us. It offers us clarity of personhood, and community in God and God’s dream for our world.
Jesus is extending a clear invitation to us to become the humble person. The person who lives in the reality and recognition of a community. The person who is truly for and with others. The person who recognizes God’s leading in the work of reconciliation, reparation, mercy, justice, and peace.
Which person are you?
- How are you in real relationships with people on the margins? How are you their friend and how are they your friend?
- Who else is on your team as you work for justice? If you find yourself striving alone, take that observation to God in prayer and see what God has to say.
- If you are a person of privilege, how many times have you distanced yourself from others? How many times have you included others and allowed their voices to be heard louder than yours?
Jocelyn A. Sideco is a retreat leader, spiritual director and innovative minister who specializes in mission-centered ministry. She directs the Community Service and Social Justice office at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, Calif., prays at St. Agnes Church, blogs for NCRonline.org, and consults with organizations like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Visit her online ecumenical ministry, In Good Company, at ingoodcompany.net.co or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.