Sunday, September 30, 2018

Moira Egan Has Something To Say Sunday Sept 30th 2018

              We have some hard words from James and Jesus in this Sunday’s readings!  In these difficult days, I was hoping for something a bit more explicitly comforting.  While “gentle Jesus meek and mild” does not resonate with me, on first reading, these Scriptures seem to go too far the other way.  James, what are you yelling at me for; I haven’t stolen anybody’s wages!  Go tell …; they’re the ones who need to change their ways.  The Gospel’s shocking language of self-harm and implied link between physical disability and sin is not exactly an opening for dialogue.  Yet we are called to acknowledge and take seriously challenging messages, even, or maybe especially, when they make us uncomfortable. 
              These readings give us the chance to reflect on community.  We are called to put aside what is individually easy, familiar or convenient to work for the common good.  While it’s true that I have not literally withheld anybody’s wages, I can certainly be more careful to purchase goods produced with ethical labor practices.  Especially in this Season of Creation, I can bypass the quick and easy single-serve pods and use a refillable filter in the office coffee machine.  When we hear racist, sexist, ageist or homophobic remarks from friends or colleagues, it’s hard to challenge them, and tempting to ignore them if nobody from the demeaned group was present.  Present or not, somebody was devalued and our challenge to that devaluing can help a friend or colleague grow. 
Rather than going on the defensive or letting myself off the hook because of exaggerated or unhelpful metaphorical language, upon deeper reflection, I think of James and Jesus as caring friends whose desire for us to be truly who we are may carry them away on occasion.  When furthering the beloved community seems like a tall order, we have such helpful guides in Jesus’ life and in each other.  We know that Jesus was tempted to take the easy way out and drew strength from prayer and friendship.  We can do that too.  We know we can’t end violence, injustice or climate change individually, but that doesn’t mean we give up.  Working together, Wow!  Just think of the possibilities. 

Moira Egan is part of the leadership team of The Women Who Stayed, and a member of the Xavier Peace and Justice Committee.

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