Yesterday’s passage from the book of Isaiah reminds me of God’s infinite love and challenge for each of us. Like Isaiah, God forms each of us in the womb with a particular vocation in mind, and that intimate relationship with God can give us strength. At some of my most difficult times, it was through knowing God’s love that I was able to find light in darkness.
It is tempting to remain in that place of consolation and faith. Yet God does not want us to stop at our own knowledge of God’s love, for that would be “too little.” Just as the Lord asks Isaiah to look beyond serving God and God’s chosen people of Israel in order to bring God’s salvation to “the ends of the earth,” God calls us to go beyond our comfort zones to be God’s hands and feet on Earth, for it is through us that God will show God’s glory.
God’s salvation, which will be fully actualized in Heaven, can be foreshadowed on Earth. If we dream of Heaven as being just, joyful, and peaceful, then we are called to be agents of justice, joy, and peace on Earth. This is something that Martin Luther King, Jr., who we celebrate today, knew well. In his leadership during the Civil Rights Movement, his goal was always to form a “Beloved Community,” marked by reconciliation and the Kingdom of God on Earth. In a world still wracked with racism and injustice, we could use this reminder now as much as ever.
God challenged Isaiah to “be a light to the nations,” and God likewise challenged Martin Luther King Jr. to be prophetic in his call for racial justice. Today, God continues to challenge us to hope and work toward a better future. In doing so, it is too little for us to pray, for we must also act. It is too little for us to serve those within the walls of our parish, for we must also go out to encounter the marginalized. It is too little for us to love those who agree with us, for we must also love those who do not.
In this new year, I hope to keep God’s loving challenge at the front of my mind, so I may find new ways to work toward justice and peace on Earth.
Kelly Sankowski is a graduate student at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She is originally from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and prior to moving to Boston, she was a reporter for the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington. You can learn more about her and her writing here.