The prophet Isaiah opens today’s readings with God’s beautiful vision: suffering relieved, light emerging from darkness, and a noble call to be “repairers of the breach.” Who wouldn’t want to participate? But we all know that so much gets in the way. How do we begin?
On Thursdays, Faith in Action Bay Area convenes faith leaders across San Francisco as we community-organize towards a city where everyone belongs. As we dream big about how all people can have access to housing, we learn the art of small research meetings with key decision-makers. So much can be learned by asking the question: Who do you love? Power is in the relationship. It is striking to learn of the many interests that claim the attention and funding of people with decision-making capability.
How do we remain steadfast in God’s vision without getting side-tracked by other agendas? Isaiah focuses on relationship: right relationship with those most oppressed and in pain, and real relationship with God. He reminds us to stay near the Lord, who guides and renews us, and asks that we honor the sabbath meaningfully, by not “seeking [our] own interests,” but that of the common good.
Jesus’s encounter with Levi shows us how small inner and outer turnings lead to real change. Jesus meets Levi exactly where he is, as a tax collector known for benefitting from an unjust system, yet Levi’s immediate response to Jesus reveals a heart open and ready to grow. Levi’s conversion doesn’t take any immediately dramatic or heroic turns: he hosts a banquet where people from all walks of life meet. Together, Jesus and Levi begin by slowly building relationships differently. This meeting is all about what Isaiah describes; it is what Lent is about, too: letting love reorient our lives. Who do you love?
- In what ways do you feel called to let love reorient your life?
- How can this reorientation help you to be a part of a movement toward transformation and change that leads to a more just world?
Grace Salceanu lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches, directs adult spirituality, and gives the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.