Renew Us, and the Face of the Earth

BY ALEX MIKULICH | September 3, 2018
Sunday’s Readings

I find today’s readings deeply painful in light of the new revelations of the Catholic hierarchy covering up child abuse for decades and of faith leaders who heap praise upon a President who not only abuses widows and orphans arriving on our southern border, but even worse, breaks up families thereby traumatizing children and increasing the numbers of widows and orphans. These profound evils scandalize, horrify, and traumatize us all. I empathize with brothers and sisters who feel compelled to leave an indefensible institutional Church.

The readings call us to the love at the core of the Gospel. The Letter of Saint James leaves no ambiguity: If we are going to be doers of the word and not only hearers, our faith in God is demonstrated by how we “care for widows and orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” I can’t conceive of how we can keep ourselves unstained by the grotesque cover-up of abuse of minors by the hierarchy. However, the Ignatian Solidarity Network rightly focuses our prayer and action on how together we can “care for widows and orphans”—a symbol of the most vulnerable in our midst. Contemplative attention on that prayer and work purifies us as it gives hope to the afflicted.  

Mark’s Gospel rings as fresh to me today as it must have when Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of religious and political elites in his own day. The very licentiousness Jesus condemns is sickeningly evident in the Church and government. Yet Christ still empowers us to feel compassion with and for the afflicted and to think, feel, and act in that compassion with every fiber of our being. I believe that is how God renews us and the face of the earth.

How do I focus my thoughts, words, feeling, and action on caring for the most vulnerable in our society?

5 replies
  1. Jeri
    Jeri says:

    I teach at at a public high school and do what I can it help the most vulnerable and needy of my students. It is quite a struggle at the same time keeping a vigorous curriculum so all the students benefit. The school system is also full of hierarchical hypocrisy. But I have chosen to do good where I can and speak out when given the opportunity

  2. Cathe
    Cathe says:

    Thank you for so beautifully bringing these readings and connecting them with the terrible difficulties of this time, now!
    Your words provide cracks in the sidewalks, so that light and growth are able to take place. The transition from darkness to light allows hope and joy and the Spirit of God to rise and be visible.

  3. Pete Henriot
    Pete Henriot says:

    Thank you, Alex Mikulich, for your good words! Our efforts for Loyola Jesuit Secondary School in Malawi ( aim to assist the African child who is focus of Pope Francis’ prayer this month of September.

    Keep up great work of ISN — a blessing for all of us! Peace of Christ.

    Pete Henriot, S.J. (Member of Zambia-Malawi Jesuit Province)

  4. Charles G.
    Charles G. says:

    To serve unconditionally to all Ad Majorem Dei Glorium this is the motto of the Jesuits.There are no preconditions to help those in need.


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