Lately, a privilege I have exploited has been to escape into movies and TV shows. I turn off the news alerts on my phone and binge-watch a season of a show in a weekend. At the end, I know how it turns out. The story has already been written.
My heart is frightened and anguished. I am struggling to make sense of the sex abuse crisis and the constant onslaught of terrible news. The church is in crisis. The nation is in crisis. I want to know how all this will end.
This week’s readings spoke directly to my fears and my urge to escape. To lose myself in an epic Netflix binge is to attend to the man with gold rings and fine clothes. As a result, I put the poor, the marginalized, the victimized in a corner, choosing to pay attention to them only when it is convenient for me to face reality.
Yet the readings also give me a glimpse of the end, of the Reign of God that has begun here on Earth. We hear that “The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. The Lord loves the just; the Lord protects strangers” (Ps 146:8-9). In the Gospel, Jesus fulfills the prophecies and heals the deaf man. His healing then becomes a communal act. The people cannot keep it to themselves.
The message I hear today: “Be opened!” (Mk 7:34). The Gospel asks me to remove the headphones from my ears, to turn off the screen. I do not need to be afraid or to escape from this world because God is here and I have glimpsed the Reign of God. The invitation for me now is to participate in this communal healing: to hear the cries, to attend to the poor.
Teresa Marie Cariño is pastoral associate for youth and young adult ministry at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she has deep roots in the Jesuit education tradition.
After graduating from St. Ignatius College Prep, she attended the University of San Francisco (USF), earning a bachelor’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies with minors in Catholic Studies & Social Thought and Philippine Studies. While at USF, Teresa worked in the University Ministry office and co-founded the student leadership group Ignatian Companions. She also studied abroad with the Casa Bayanihan program at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, working with marginalized communities.
Upon graduation, Teresa joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, spending a year of service working as a Tenant Organizer in New York City.