By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ, & Director, CREDI. Visit rcsocialjusticett.org for our columns, media releases and more.
There are many nuggets of wisdom in today’s readings. Reflect on them. I wish to focus on Jesus’ response to the two disciples who asked Him where He lived. John the Baptist told them: “Look, there is the lamb of God.” On hearing this, they immediately followed Jesus. And when they asked Him where He lived, He responded: “Come and see”. They followed Him immediately.
Jesus is forever calling us. The challenge is to hear His voice in the cacophony of noise/distractions around us. With Carnival in the air, let us not forget to LISTEN to His voice. Remember, as our Second Reading today states: “Your body…is the temple of the Holy Spirit…you should use your body for the glory of God” (1 Cor 6:19–20).
Jesus’ call “Come and see”, is a call to discipleship. As Fr Thomas Rosica said: “Two loaded words throughout John’s Gospel: to come to Jesus is used to describe faith in him (cf John 5:40; 6:35, 37, 45; 7:37); for John, to see Jesus with real perception is to believe in him… We are never called for our own sake, but for the sake of others…God calls all Christians for the sake of the world in which we live… To be called does not require perfection on our behalf, only fidelity and holy listening. …It is a dynamic call that involves a total response on our part. We will never be the same because He has called us, loved us, changed us and made us into His image. Because He has called us, we have no choice but to call others to follow Him.”
One of the most effective ways of calling others is by being living witnesses of the faith we say we profess. The Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes (43) warns us that the “split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.”
Today’s Responsorial Psalm (39:2, 4, 7–10) is instructive. As we respond: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will”, let us resolve to do His will. We serve God by serving others.
Archbishop Jason Gordon reminded some of us recently that our mission is to build the civilisation of love. This is not a part-time job e.g. we can’t say that we will “get on bad and mash up de place” during the carnival season and that we will go to confession afterwards, seeking the Lord’s forgiveness.
Pope St John Paul II’s words in Christifideles Laici (#17) are noteworthy: “The unity of life of the lay faithful is of the greatest importance: indeed they must be sanctified in everyday professional and social life. Therefore to respond to their vocation, the lay faithful must see their daily activities as an occasion to join themselves to God; fulfil His will; serve other people and lead them to communion with God in Christ.”
The call to “come and see” implies that we must act on what we see. Pope Francis constantly calls us to overcome indifference. In September 2016 he said: “We are accustomed to a culture of indifference and we must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter, of a fruitful encounter, of an encounter that restores to each person his or her own dignity as a child of God, the dignity of a living person. We are accustomed to this indifference, when we see the disasters of this world or small things: ‘What a shame, poor people, look how they are suffering,’ and then we carry on…And if I don’t look, it’s not enough to see, no, (we must) look—if I don’t stop, if I don’t look, if I don’t touch, if I don’t speak, I cannot have an encounter and I cannot help to build a culture of encounter…Within the family we must live a true encounter and at the table we must listen to each other.”
CCSJ member, Nadine Bushell, is also Council Chairperson of Lions of the Caribbean (July 2017–June 2018) whose overall motto is: “We serve”. Community service is at the heart of this organisation’s work e.g. pediatric cancer, diabetes, environment, vision, hunger relief, helping countries in the region recover from natural disasters and promoting good citizenship. Catholics are in all areas of human endeavour. Like Nadine, let us live our faith in the market place as authentic Disciples of Christ.