Moved to Greater Love
Moved to Greater Love

Wednesday, April 30

Today’s Grace

I ask for the grace to reach out to people around me who seem alienated, disillusioned or hopeless.

Scripture/Reading

Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Jn 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Pope Francis had these stirring words to say to the bishops in Brazil during World Youth Day 2013:

Let us read once again, in this light, the story of Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-15). The two disciples have left Jerusalem. They are leaving behind the “nakedness” of God. They are scandalized by the failure of the Messiah in whom they had hoped and who now appeared utterly vanquished, humiliated, even after the third day (vv. 17-21). Here we have to face the difficult mystery of those people who leave the Church, who, under the illusion of alternative ideas, now think that the Church — their Jerusalem — can no longer offer them anything meaningful and important. So they set off on the road alone, with their disappointment.

Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions; perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age. It is a fact that nowadays there are many people like the two disciples of Emmaus; not only those looking for answers in the new religious groups that are sprouting up, but also those who already seem godless, both in theory and in practice.

Faced with this situation, what are we to do?

We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night. We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way. We need a Church capable of entering into their conversation. We need a Church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil; incapable of generating meaning.

Reflection Questions

(From our different age perspectives)

For those of us in our golden years:

  1. Do the words of Pope Francis help me to look back with pride and joy on my life and ministry in the Church, Society of Jesus and its institutions? Or do I feel like somebody has changed the rules or “moved the goalposts,” leaving me feeling empty and useless when I look back? I speak to God about this.
  2. Do the pope’s words fill me with energy to reach out to those who have become alienated or disillusioned? Or do I feel confused and lacking the tools to take on this task, not even knowing where to begin relating to people in today’s culture? I speak to God about this.
  3. Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ part of my conversation with God about these things?

For those of us in the midst of our apostolic life:

  1. How do the words of Pope Francis encourage me to reach out to my disillusioned contemporaries? Or do I find myself at a loss for how to reach out to the margins of the Church? I speak to God about this.
  2. At my core, what is the central piece of good news that energizes my life and which I wish to share with today’s culture? What setbacks and struggles in my own life has God already been using to make me a better minister of His mercy and love?
  3. Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ part of my conversation with God about these things?

Song: Jeff Buckley sings Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”

 

Other Resources

View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.





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