“What about you?”

Reflection for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Sr. Marie Lucey, FAN director of Advocacy and Member Relations.
This reflection was originally posted in our October 12th Newsletter
In his homily during the Mass for clergy and religious in Philadelphia, Pope Francis put this question to the congregation. The question was addressed by Pope Leo XIII to Katherine Drexel, now Saint Katherine Drexel, when she expressed her concern for forgotten people, especially Native and Black Americans. The daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia banker, Katherine desired to use her inheritance to assist people at the margins of late 19th century U.S. society. In response to the Pope’s question, “What about you?,” Katherine founded a new religious congregation, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, devoted to education and social services for Native and Black Americans. “What about you”? Pope Francis asked the congregation. His question can be addressed to all of us as we reflect on ways we can respond to the challenges he issued during his visit to the United States. Rather than look to others, “What about you? me? us?”

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus puts a similar question to James and John who ask if they can be seated next to Jesus in his glory: “Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized”? I will offer my life out of love for all people, Jesus is saying, but “What about you?” If you really want to follow me, can you drink the chalice of suffering that I drink? Of course the glory seekers don’t get it and confidently respond, “We can.” Jesus assures them that they will indeed drink the cup that he drinks. They will learn that it will be the cup of suffering.
So what about us? Jesus makes it clear that we are called to servant leadership: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant…” The servant leader suffers. As Isaiah foretold: “…through his suffering , my servant shall justify many…” When we take up the challenges offered by Pope Francis related to immigrants and refugees, climate change, economic justice, human trafficking, and forms of violence, we too drink the cup of suffering that Jesus drank. We experience frustration, failure, rejection, indifference and opposition. But we have God’s presence always with us, and we have companions on the journey. We must never lose hope. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Hebrews: “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

What about me? Pope Francis challenges me to be compassionate and inclusive, to live the joy of the Gospel, and to be a person of hope.

 

Sr. Marie Lucey
FAN Director of Advocacy and Member Relations
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Published in: on October 13, 2015 at 9:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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