I am deeply struck by the faith of Isaiah, Paul, and John in this week’s readings. Even amidst the harsh realities of seeing those who are poor, brokenhearted, and imprisoned, as well as the physical toll of preaching in the scorching desert, they all responded with joy and encouragement.
Isaiah proclaimed that God “is the joy of my soul.”
Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, reassures the people by saying, “may the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless…”John announced, probably with a great smile on his face, “…the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
These are not self-aggrandizing statements, boasting about how holy one is or what one has done for the least of these.
Instead, it is the elation that comes with knowing that the work we do in the vineyards of our apostolates—our classrooms, refugee camps, detention centers, prisons, or hospitals—has been anointed.
Working for justice in this politically and socially divisive climate can weigh heavy on the heart. It is then that we must allow that same heavy heart to remember that it has been anointed. We must allow our hearts to remember who we are and whose we are. We have been anointed. Let us remember this glorious designation as we work with our God to have “justice and praise spring up before all nations.”
Justin T. White serves as Ignatian ministries associate at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.