Last July during NETWORK Lobby’s Nuns on the Bus tour, we went to Buffalo, New York to visit the Episcopal Cathedral and see the interfaith work that they are doing. It was an amazing mix of various faiths and various services, from food to healthcare, all gathered around the downtown square where a statue of the “Homeless Jesus” has pride of place. The Baptists participating in the various services gave us T-shirts. They say in bold print: “The Church has left the building!”
That is what these readings of Holy Week are about. In the Gospel today, Jesus lets the apostles know he will be betrayed. The apostles don’t know what Jesus is talking about and try to make sense of it in very ordinary ways. How often do I try to rationalize the challenges I face?
But here is the challenging truth: we are Christ’s body and are called on the same path as he. This means that we are called to lay down our lives for others—even when we are betrayed or unappreciated. The Gospel challenges us to continue Jesus’ journey for others.
This is not an individual journey. The interfaith community in Buffalo knows this. We are called to be of service together and reach out beyond our comfort zone. We are the Church and the Gospel demands that we leave the building and care for our sisters and brothers. Then the reading from Isaiah will once again ring true.
The Gospel demands that we leave the building to care for our sisters and brothers #RiseUpLentClick to tweet
Then, our light will shine in these sometimes dark and challenging times—even if we don’t always see the light itself.
- In your community, how can you unite with others, reach beyond your comfort zone, and care for your sisters and brothers?
- When have you experienced Church, as the people of God, as a united force for change? When have you seen efforts to affect change or serve the vulnerable fail due to lack of community unity?
- In what ways can you light shine more effectively by strengthening your own ties to Church—the people of God?
Sister Simone Campbell is the Executive Director of NETWORK – a national group of social justice advocates inspired by Catholic Sisters that lobbies in D.C. to mend the gaps in income and wealth in the U.S. She has led five cross-country “Nuns on the Bus” trips, focused on economic justice, comprehensive immigration reform, voter turnout, bridging divides in politics and society, and (most recently) mending the gaps. She wrote the famous “Nuns’ Letter,” considered by many as critically important in convincing Congress to support the Affordable Care Act, and is the author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community, published by HarperCollins. She has received numerous awards, spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and has appeared on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change.