I have been aware lately of how very blessed my life is. I have all of my basic needs met and have several of my wants covered as well. I listened to a letter of some Catholic Sisters who live in Lebanon. They spoke of their blessings, personally, and then went on in their letter to describe the shambled condition of their country. They talked about the great needs of food and water, the number of children and adults left physically scared by the war.
I know that the same story repeats itself throughout this global village in which I call home. Yet these stories make smooth places within me sharp and uncomfortable. I read the words of Isaiah from the Sunday readings of September 17th and I ask myself, “Have I become one who plucks the beard of the Holy One, do I turn my face toward or away from the face of God in need?”
The letter of James encourages me to be strengthened by my faith as the foundation for reaching out to those in needs. And in the gospel reading of Mark, Jesus who said so much more by his doing than his speaking, invites me to feel the same call of his disciples. I am invited to follow the way of Jesus. Today that begins by acknowledging my rough edges and yet listening to the ways in which I am being called to respond to the needs of those who are speaking.
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”