“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 director of equity and inclusion and director of faculty at Loyola High School of Los Angeles. In addition to those duties he is also a teacher in the social studies department teaching economics and African American studies, as well as the head varsity basketball coach. As a graduate of Loyola High School, he matriculated to Columbia University where he was a member of the men’s basketball team, as well as earning a degree in economics. Jamal’s professional career began with an 11-year stint working in finance in both New York and Los Angeles. Upon his return to Loyola as an educator, Jamal earned his masters degree in secondary education from Loyola Marymount University, graduating with honors. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Pam, while their daughter, Jaylen, and son, Jerod, are currently college students.