March 30, Monday
Men and Women for Others
In today’s reflection, Jesuit scholastic Marcos Gonzales imagines himself along the way of the cross and being conscripted — willingly or somewhat less so — into shouldering Jesus’ burden.
Sunday Readings - Week 6
A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.
Pressed into Service
by Marcos Gonzales, SJ
Remember when a teacher or supervisor would walk into the room, on the hunt for someone — anyone — to give a task to? Everyone did their best to look busy and preoccupied. But, inevitably, the teacher would catch your gaze and — the next thing you knew — you were being “pressed into service.” I imagine Simon might have experienced something like this when he was called out of the crowd to help Jesus with his cross.
In the Stations of the Cross, Jesus falls twice more after Simon comes to his aid. When we walk with others, even in ministry, there will be times when those we accompany will fall. Simon may have wanted to carry Jesus’ cross for him, but he could only carry it with him. I think Greg Boyle got it right when he wrote that we choose “a oneness in kinship and a willingness to live in others’ hearts. Jesus was not a man for others. He was one with others. There is a world of difference in that.”
This week we are invited to reflect upon Christ’s passion and bear witness to his desire to be with us. How might I be “pressed into service” this final week of Lent? In what ways do I need someone to walk with me as I carry my own cross?
Puesto al Servicio
Por: Marcos Gonzales, SJ
¿Puede usted recordar la sensación que provocaba ver que el maestro o supervisor entraba al aula, buscando a alguien para darle una tarea? Todos simulaban estar ocupados. Pero, inevitablemente, el profesor lo “pescaba” mirando y, acto seguido, estaba siendo “puesto al servicio.” Me imagino que esto podría haber sido algo similar a lo que Simón debe haber experimentado cuando lo hicieron salir de la multitud, para caminar el Vía Crucis con Jesús.
En las Estaciones de la Cruz, Jesús cae dos veces más, después de que Simón comienza a ayudarle. Cuando caminemos con otros en el ministerio, habrá momentos en los que, los que acompañemos puedan caer. Por mucho que Simón haya querido llevar la cruz de Jesús por él, sólo pudo llevarla con él. Creo que Greg Boyle lo dijo bien cuando escribió que elegimos “una unidad en el parentesco y la voluntad de vivir en los corazones de los demás. Jesús no era un hombre para los demás. Él era uno con los demás. Hay un mundo de diferencia en eso.”
Esta semana se nos invita a reflexionar sobre la pasión de Cristo y el testimonio del deseo de Jesús de estar con nosotros. ¿Cómo podría yo, “ponerme al servicio” esta última semana de la Cuaresma? ¿De qué manera necesito que alguien camine conmigo, mientras llevo mi propia cruz?
Marcos Gonzales, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic studying social work at Loyola University Chicago and assisting at St. Procopius Church, the Jesuit parish in Chicago, Illinois. Originally from San Fernando, California, Marcos graduated from Loyola Marymount University and served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Chuuk, Micronesia. He then returned to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and received an M.A. in secondary education through LMU’s PLACE Corps (Partnership in Los Angeles Catholic Education) before entering the Jesuits. Photo by Leo Stubner.
I know that we share the same loving Father.
And that you invite me to follow in your footsteps of service.
Give me the courage to follow you all the way
into a shared passion,
a shared suffering,
a shared resurrection
and into a shared new life.
Grant me the strong back and untiring shoulders
to take that first step with you and your cross
and I know that the end of the journey will be glory.
S. del Piombo
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
: Matthew 23:12
Jesus calls us to a strategy of downward mobility in a society that promotes unbridled upward mobility. Upward mobility is, at best, ambiguous, especially since the drive for success is a drive to leave others behind, to escape not only poverty, but the poor. Upward mobility has turned cancerous, resulting in a state that cannot provide for the common good.
I invite you to discover your vocation in downward mobility. Have the courage to lose control. Have the courage to listen. Have the courage to receive. Have the courage to let your heart be broken. Have the courage to feel. Have the courage to fall in love. Have the courage to get ruined for life.
: Dean Brackley, SJ
It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.
: Abraham Joshua Heschel
It is not some religious act that makes a Christian what he or she is, but being caught up in the messianic suffering of God through Christ. The woman who anoints Christ’s feet with oil does so without any specific confession of sin. The Centurion of Canaan doesn’t confess his sins, he acts on faith, and Christ holds him up as a model. A religious act is always partial; an act springing from faith is always whole, because it involves the whole life.
: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Is Justice Worth It? (2112)
We Will Never Drive You Away: GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Telson & Brewer/Soul Stirrers)
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