I was fortunate to have been able to travel to DC with my sister and friends this time last year for the Women’s March on Washington. The journey entailed two overnight bus rides sandwiching an amazing day of solidarity for and with other protestors. As we walked the streets in and around the Capitol and the Washington Monument our hearts were lifted and hope was renewed.
What made me get on the bus last year? A strong feeling of “I need to stand up and speak out” took over and I needed to be with others—lots of others it turned out—who felt the same yearning.
Today’s Gospel reading has the disciples getting on the “Jesus bus.” What compelled them to leave everything and jump onboard?
What was the message Jesus was living and giving that was so appealing? Was Jesus able to convey his awareness of, like Jim Martin, SJ, suggests in Jesus: A Pilgrimage, “the income disparities in Galilee, the taxes levied on the people…the way that something as random as drought [could] wipe out a year’s earnings…[and] how the class system forced many poor people to see themselves as powerless?” (page 86)
One of the things that made the long bus trip tolerable was the camaraderie with fellow pilgrims. We shared laughter and food and made new friendships as we literally “leaned” on each other as the miles clicked by.
What has always made my experience of working for a just and peaceful world better was having people—real people—there to encourage and to accompany me along the way.
Leah is a former Jesuit volunteer (Belize 89-91), former Jesuit Volunteer Corps International staff, and current Spiritual Director Intern at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.