“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.
In today’s Gospel, as Jesus was washing the feet of the disciplines, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:1-15)
The core of our Jesuit and greater Catholic mission is to be of service to others, particularly the marginalized and oppressed. We are called beyond acts of charity, but to walk to the margins and stand in solidarity with those who feel like outsiders. It is in these actions that we will build an inclusive community that, at its core, respects the humanity of everyone who surrounds us, from our dearest neighbor or the stranger who has walked into our lives unexpectedly. As Father Greg Boyle, S.J., of Homeboy Industries has stated, “It is connection and kinship that ultimately heals people.”
My prayer as we end this Lenten season is that our hearts, minds, and actions are filled with the spirit of advocacy and agency for all our brothers and sisters so that everyone that we encounter can feel the power of community.
Jamal Adams is the principal at La Salle College Preparatory School in Pasadena, California. Prior to joining the Lasallian community, Adams served Loyola High School of Los Angeles as its director of equity and inclusion and director of faculty. As director of equity and inclusion, he instituted programs and projects that centered on deepening a culture of belonging on campus across affinity groups, with parents-guardians and other stakeholders from the community. He is the co-author of an essay “Teaching as a Practice Rooted in Black Brotherhood,” featured in an anthology entitled Teaching Black: The Craft of Teaching on Black Life and Literature (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020). In addition to his publication, he is the co-host of a podcast, Just Conversations: Race, Faith, and Catholic Education, sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.