Daily Reflection
August 30th, 1999
Maureen McCann Waldron
Collaborative Ministry Office
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Luke 4:16-30
Being a parent is a wonderfully difficult job. There are so many extraordinary moments of pride, rewards, hugs, handpainted gifts and unimaginable love.  First steps are followed at lightning speed by first days of school, first crushes, first time behind the wheel of a car and first time moving away from home.

But being a parent also has a challenging side.  It means, tears, fears (and Iím just talking about the adults), discipline, arguments, pouting and the utter frustration that comes with having a 16 year old certain that you are an idiot.  Somehow, parents have to believe that despite the difficulties, the uncertainty and the grief, clinging to our beliefs and values will get us through to the other side of the job we have taken on: to release into the world a level-headed, loving and compassionate adult.

In todayís gospel, Jesus shows us two sides of what it means to be his follower.  First, as he reads the scripture in the temple, it is inspiring and moving.  We are told by Jesus as he reads from Isaiah that good news is coming to the poor, captives will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will go free and a year of the Lordís favor will be proclaimed.  What joy!  Who could not thrill to that wonderful message?  Who would not want to follow Jesus?

Then we see the other side of the message.  Jesus moves deeper into the message, challenging them to believe without the flashy miracles he has performed in other towns.  He speaks of widows, famines and lepers and they become angry.  How dare he, the son of Joseph the carpenter, talk to them that way?  To push them like that? To challenge them?   Now he has to face their doubts, the questions and finally their rage as they try to drive him over a cliff before he passes safely through them.

For us, following Jesus has to go beyond a vague sense of loving everyone.  We are called to live the gospel values in our care for the poor and marginalized in a special way and to have a faith that is forged together with justice.  Catholic social teaching and church leaders call us to challenge unjust structures and to be advocates for those who have no one to speak for them.  Inevitably there will be challenges, anger and perhaps even rage, as we push beyond the comfort level of our listeners.  But this is what we are called to do.

Jesus is asking us to trust, to risk and to love no matter what the consequences.  Hmm, those are good things to remember in my role as a parent, too.

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