Memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine,
S.J. - Read
about St. Robert Bellarmine.
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Lk. 8
Part of what I love about Jesus is that he made God more "reasonable." When we imagine Jesus moving from town to town, proclaiming the liberating good news of the coming of God's Kingdom, we see him travelling with the 12, and with a group of women who had been healed by him and by some women who bought food for them along the way. It's supposed to be a surprising image because men, especially "religious" men were not supposed to be seen in public with women. Just being with people who were sick or who were sinners (often considered the same) would mean that a person would be unfit for worship. I love how Jesus just shatters the possibility of thinking that God could support those kinds of prejudices. Perhaps that is why the women were so very faithful to him. When almost all the apostles fled, it was these women who were there with him to Calvery. It was Mary, "from whom he drove seven demons," who is, according to the fourth gospel, the one Jesus first called to proclaim the good news of the resurrection to his apostles.
So, when I watch Jesus today, travelling down the road with this unconventional group of women and men, I smile and I feel challenged. I smile because he is so attractive, so inspiring, so courageous, so free, so unafraid to place his trust in God without self-doubt. And, I'm challenged because I know that to be drawn to be with him is to be drawn to be like him.
I can examine myself today, asking myself many questions and asking for many graces. With whom do I journey down the road? Do I just hang around a group of "like-minded" people? Do I avoid people who are "not well" or who are obvious "sinners"? Am I a healer or a divider? Do I cling to old wounds, old categories, self-protective ways of thinking and living? What are my attitudes toward women, really? How far away do I stay from the "untouchable" people in my faith community, my city, our world? How many of the choices of my daily life place me in solidarity with the people Jesus befriended?
Thank you for this glimpse into your own way of loving and for re-enkindling my attraction to you and for helping me to examine my own patterns.
Free my heart by healing my wounds and fears. Let me exercise my desire to be with you by taking more risks to accept and love the people I hold on to the margins of my consciousness and care. And, may my growing, grateful generosity always go to support your work, your way, with those for whom and with whom you invite me to journey.
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