The Church’s Essential Service
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Job 7:1-4,6-7

It’s easy to talk about loving others and being committed to the stranger’s welfare. It’s anything but easy to move from the rhetoric to the reality.

Modern communication and transportation allow us to jog in shoes from Taiwan and enjoy fresh vegetables from California or Florida all winter. But they have other consequences. We hear about a ship sinking off an Italian island within minutes of its running aground. We see same-day video of soldiers shooting anti-government demonstrators in Syria. We hear the cries of mothers holding their starving children in the Sudan and watch the earthquake tragedy drag on month after month in Haiti. As a result we wonder if relatives cruising the Caribbean will be okay, whether we should send more money to Haiti, if our government ought to intervene in Syria. So much information is overwhelming. It’s understandable that we want to ignore world news and obsess over what star is dating whom and whether the Tigers have signed a new reliever.

Modern communication and mobility provide us the opportunity to respond to an entire world rather than just the twenty square miles around us. They leave unanswered, however, the question of how we want to deal with that response-ability?

Do I believe that God will actually end this world’s injustice? Do I believe that my actions contribute to that process? Where does God’s goal fall in my list of priorities? What sacrifice am I willing to ask of myself and those I love for a just world? What assurance of success do I need before I can risk my time and energy for such a world? Faith alone answers these questions. Faith alone allows us to embrace the promise of life. Our response is ultimately a matter of love.

What we need most from our Church is not a new liturgical style or firmer directions about how to behave; we need strong, reliable support to love freely – to love beyond the point that our fearful and security-centered world judges “good enough.”