- Fr. John Jennings
Our Sacred Stories: Disciples in the Midst of the World
Luke’s story in this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 16:19-31) is a challenge to us. It presents some fundamental elements of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. The story focuses on a rich man, who is unnamed and a poor man, Lazarus. It challenges us to reflect on how we live our discipleship.
In the story the rich man was not portrayed as consciously oppressing Lazarus. Rather he was oblivious to the poor man at his gate. He did not even notice the person who was right in front of him. And certainly, he did not recognize that he had any responsibility to Lazarus.
This is our challenge in the world today. Often, we are quite ready and willing to offer help in a crisis, whether a handout to someone in need or aid in the case of a natural disaster such as a flood or earthquake. This is all good and certainly responds to a need.
The real challenge however is more demanding. It is the question of social justice in our world. Often the poverty that we encounter locally or globally has a basis in the social structures of our world. Since it is so basic, so much a part of our way of seeing the world that it is harder for us to recognize. Still more difficult is it for us to see that we can do anything about it.
The call to be disciples of Jesus is a call to the message and mission that he revealed. It means we work to build God’s reign where we are. Starting with ourselves, it calls for the transformation of our mentality and that of our world into one where justice and peace reign, where there is equal respect and honouring of every person. Impossible??? Three suggestions: think globally, act locally and pray.
A Disciple’s Prayer
God of all Creation, Your Son Jesus called his disciples and said,
“You did not choose me, I chose you.”
You have chosen me to be today’s disciple in today’s world.
I thank you that you consider me worth to be a disciple of Jesus
Transform me into the image of Jesus.
Make my heart long for you in poverty of spirit.
Make my heart mourn at the misfortune of others.
Make me meek and humble of heart.
Make me hunger and thirst for what is right.
Make me merciful and overflowing with compassion
Make me clean of heart and share in your holiness.
Make my life an instrument of peace and reconciliation.
In justice, may I act on behalf of the oppressed.
In freedom, may I set others free in forgiveness.
In service, may I provide for the needs of your people.
(Prayer: from Fr. Satish Joseph in Be My Disciples Recipe Book, RCL Benziger 2012)