Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 9, Monday

Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice

Jesuit Father Steve Privett, writing from a well-deserved sabbatical after 14 years as president of University of San Francisco, clarifies the integral connection between faith and justice.


Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 3

EX 20:1-17
1 COR 1:22-25
JN 2:13-25



A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.

Daily Reflection

The Only Sure Path
by Stephen A. Privett, SJ

“I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth.”

There may be a few people who take this passage from Exodus literally and imagine a God concerned about being displaced by carvings of fishes, birds or even a golden calf. "Idols" is a metaphor for whatever draws us away from God and from realizing God’s hopes for the world. The classic articulation of faith, “Credo in unum Deum,” is rooted in two Latin words, cor [heart] and do [I give]. Thus faith in God has less to do with doctrines and dogmas than it does about that to which we truly give our hearts. What really attracts our attention and directs our energies? St. Augustine learned the hard way that our hearts are made for God and will never rest until they rest in God. To try to satisfy our heart's deepest desires with what has no lasting value is, in Gospel language, to amass treasures that moths consume and rust destroys.

In one of her books, Anne Lamott confessed that at one point her life was driven by empty ambitions; she felt like an old greyhound at the race track who finally figures out that she's been chasing bunnies. All that energy, and it's not even a real rabbit.

God's grand project, which began with creation and reached its promised fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus, is a world where the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the imprisoned freed and the stranger welcomed — a far cry from our world, where too few have far too much and way too many have almost nothing. Our Christian vocation calls us to follow Jesus on the only sure path to the promised land. We cannot worship the "idols" of our culture — wealth, power, and status — and realize God's hopes for the world and ourselves. Lent is a good time to stop chasing false bunnies and join the human race towards the promised land of peace with justice for all.

El unico camino seguro
Por: Stephen A. Privett, SJ

“Yo soy el Señor tu Dios, que te sacó de la tierra de Egipto, donde eras esclavo. No tengas otros dioses aparte de mí. No te hagas ningún ídolo ni figura de lo que hay arriba en elcielo, ni de lo que hay abajo en la tierra, ni de lo que hay en el mar, debajo de la tierra.”

Debe haber poca gente que toma esta lectura de Éxodos literalmente, y que imagina a Dios preocupado a cerca de ser desplazado por unos peces y pájaros tallados, o un ternero de oro. Ídolos es la metáfora de cualquier cosa que nos aleje de Dios y no nos permita darnos cuenta de la esperanza de Dios para el mundo. La clásica profesión de fe “Credo in unum Deum” tiene sus raíces en dos palabras Latinas, cor (corazón) y do (dar). Por lo tanto, fe en Dios tiene menos que ver con doctrinas y dogma y más con la entrega verdadera de nuestros corazones. ¿Qué atrae realmente nuestra atención y dirige nuestras energías? San Agustín aprendió de una manera muy dura, que nuestros corazones están hechos para Dios, y que no descansarán nunca hasta descansar en Dios. Tratar de satisfacer los más profundos deseos de nuestros corazones con lo perecedero es, en el lenguaje del Evangelio, acumular tesoros que la polilla consume y el óxido destruye.

En uno de sus libros, Anne Lamott confesó que en un momento, su vida estaba motivada por ambiciones superfluas; sintió que era un viejo galgo, en la pista de carreras, que finalmente se da cuenta de que, en realidad, había estado persiguiendo conejitos. Toda esa energía, y ni siquiera por un verdadero conejo.

El gran proyecto de Dios, que comenzó con la creación y alcanzó el prometido cumplimiento con la muerte y resurrección de Jesús, es el mundo donde los hambrientos son alimentados, los desnudos son vestidos, los presos liberados y el extraño bienvenido — muy lejos de lo que es nuestro mundo, donde muy pocos tienen demasiado, y demasiados tienen casi nada. Nuestra vocación cristiana nos llama a seguir a Jesús por el único camino seguro hacia la tierra prometida. No podemos adorar a los “ídolos” de nuestra cultura — riqueza, poder y estatus — y llevar a cabo la esperanza de Dios para el mundo y para nosotros mismos. La Cuaresma es un momento propicio para dejar de perseguir falsos conejitos, y unirnos a la raza humana, camino a la tierra prometida de paz y justicia para todos.

Fr. Steve Privett is a member of the California Province. He entered the Jesuits in 1960 after graduating from Loyola High School in Los Angeles. Over the course of his 50-plus years as a Jesuit, he has served as principal of Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose (1975-1980), provost of Santa Clara University (1991-2000) and on August 1, 2014, resigned as president of the University of San Francisco after a 14-year tenure. He is presently on sabbatical in Cali, Colombia, working on Spanish and learning how to paint watercolors.


who gives us life,
help us to give you our hearts.
Give us the insight to know what is worth living for,
what is worth pouring ourselves out for you,
and to know what is false, empty and truly worthless.
Inspire in us the ability to follow Christ into the promised
land of life
with him
and in you.

G. Kakovkina


Faith without works is not faith at all, but a simple lack of obedience to God.
: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christ, who came on earth to teach the ways of sanctity and prayer, could have surrounded himself with ascetics who starved themselves to death and terrified the people with strange antics. But his apostles were workers, fishers, publicans who made themselves conspicuous only by their disregard for most of the intricate network of devotions, ceremonial practices and moral gymnastics of the professionally holy. The surest asceticism is the bitter insecurity and labor of the poor.
: Thomas Merton

Jesus proclaims “Good News to the poor." What is this Good News? Ask the poor — you will get clear and immediate answers: health, shelter, food, opportunity, jobs, education…
: Dean Brackley, SJ


Cristo Rey Students Read MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

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