One Debt. One Law.

Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey

This reflection was originally posted in our September 4th newsletter


commandments.heartMy parents were of the generation that did not want to be in debt, so they saved until they could pay for an item. Today, we are a country of credit cards, so most of us always owe some company something. Many college graduates are burdened with debt for years after they graduate. There is just one debt that all Christians must assume, Paul tells us in his Letter to the Romans: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another…” Why? “…for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” What law? Aren’t there many civic and church laws? “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the other commandments are summed up in one law, the law of love. “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Imagine a country, a world, in which everyone assumed this one debt, obeyed this one primary law. Would government officials track down, detain and deport people who broke a border law to escape violence, oppression and severe poverty in their home country? Would Dreamers live in fear of being deported to a country that they don’t even know? Would there even be violence and extreme economic inequalities in any country? Would we be grappling today with our country’s original sin of racism? Would we hold our collective breath every time a self-absorbed, power-obsessed world leader threatens to push the nuclear button?

Of course, ours is an imperfect world. Even those of us who desire to be ruled by love stumble and fall short. Conflicts persist in every dimension of human living – family, community, workplace, church, national and global civil society. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus offers a model of nonviolent conflict resolution which is not sufficiently tried. He acknowledges that not all efforts are successful, and sometimes we have to move on and trust the situation to God, but first, we must do everything we can to resolve the conflict or transform the situation.

Since August 15th, a core group of young Dreamers, supported by many in the faith community and others, have held a 24-hour vigil at the White House, urging the Administration to protect DACA and TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act, and then work for bi-partisan immigration reform. Many advocates around the country join them in prayer and action. As I write this reflection, there are rumors that the President will rescind DACA even before September 5th. We continue to pray, fast, cry out, stand, and march, with hope that the law of love will prevail. If it doesn’t, may God open another path forward because we cannot, in love, just walk away.

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

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Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 8:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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