Arrested for Christ

Reflection for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, David Seitz, OFS

This reflection was originally posted in our October 7th newsletter

The readings this week have a great Psalm response; “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.”

How has the Lord’s saving power been revealed? By me and you; by our evangelizing and living an authentic Gospel life. History is full of stories of evangelizers who have paid a price for speaking the truth of Jesus Christ. We celebrate the saints who have suffered for the sake of spreading the Good News. Think about that. The Good News. If this news is so good why are those who proclaim it so often persecuted?

Jesus said in John 15:20 that they persecuted him and so we too will be persecuted. St. Paul, in the reading from Second Timothy, is writing from prison. He is weighed down with chains. He is in prison for proclaiming the Lord’s saving power. He is rejoicing because he is suffering for Jesus. St. Paul knows well that Jesus, proclaiming the saving power of God, was arrested, tortured and executed. The saving power we proclaim often convicts those who possess worldly power. It challenges the conscience of the religious and political elite. Nothing has changed in 2,000 years.

I’m perplexed at times when the staff of the Franciscan Action Network is harshly criticized for taking part in civil disobedience actions which sometimes leads to a staff member being arrested for publicly proclaiming the saving power of the Lord. They are called out as being anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-Franciscan, law breakers who have no business going to the public square to proclaim the Gospel message. These events are always planned in advance with the local authorities, with those who are the target of the protests; there are no flash mobs. Law enforcement and those being arrested know in advance that the arrest will happen. This is our constitutional right being exercised in the public square.

As a professed Secular Franciscan, I promised to live a rule of life which states in Article 15 “Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.” Franciscans are called to take action to promote a just society. Franciscans are called to let their faith inform their action in public life, not let politics inform their faith. This is challenging, especially in our polarized society where civil conversation is scarce. We live in a world where if you disagree with my point of view then I have no time for you.

Paul says, “such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.”

We are fortunate that in the United States, civil disobedience only leads to a possible arrest, usually ending with paying a fine at the police station after being detained for a number of hours, although the risk of staying in jail overnight exists. We are not being tortured and executed for proclaiming the saving power of the Lord as are many of our sisters and brothers across the globe. Every morning I pray the Canticle of Zechariah during morning prayer. There is a line in the canticle that we should all cherish; “to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.” Free to worship without fear. Sisters and brothers, addressing social justice issues in the public square is how we will ensure that our children’s children will enjoy this same freedom. Next time you read about a FAN staff member being arrested for proclaiming the saving power of the Lord, instead of criticizing, why not thank them for “promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives.” (Article 15, Rule of life, Secular Franciscan Order)

David Seitz, OFS
FAN Board Member

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 9:23 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I totally agree. Very inspiring!!

  2. I LOVE you guys and all you do. I’ll make donations of bail money whenever I can

    On Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 6:24 AM Acting Franciscan wrote:

    > Franciscan Action Network posted: ” Reflection for the 28th Sunday in > Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, David Seitz, OFS This reflection was > originally posted in our October 7th newsletter The readings this week have > a great Psalm response; “The Lord has revealed to the nations ” >


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