Daily Reflection
May 16th, 2000
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Acts 11:19-26
Psalms 87:1-7
John 10:22-30

Today's readings bring to mind a question that high school retreat masters used to ask:  "If you were tried for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict?"  In our innocence, we would think of things like going to Mass on Sunday ­ which of course our parents insisted on ­ or saying the rosary even when the nuns didn't force us to.  Yes, there was evidence ­ but better light another candle or pay a visit to church just to be sure there was enough.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," says Jesus in today's reading from John.  What does this mean to us?  How do we produce evidence that we are hearing his voice and following him?

When I was a young baby boomer, instead of an aging baby boomer, I wondered if acquiring the evidence to be convicted of being a Christian required becoming a social activist ­ everything from demonstrating for peace to boycotting grapes. But the heroes of those movements led lives that weren't feasible for most people.  We might tutor in a ghetto or send a donation or attend an avant garde church but that was about the extent of our risk taking.  Was this enough evidence?  Was it the right kind of evidence for Jesus to recognize us as one of his sheep?  Did we need to go to jail for peace or spend a year in a barrio in Latin America?

I'm more laid back about the answer to this question now thanks to the wonderfully realistic and practical spirituality of St. Ignatius.  The world is good and we can find God in everything we do.  Every task can be made holy if we think of it that way.  Our worship and our lives can become a seamless whole if we will only let them.

I'm sometimes struck by how often I blow small opportunities to do this:

  • Getting annoyed at other drivers in traffic.
  • Complaining about  having picked the slowest line at the grocery store.
  • Failing to see Jesus in students who whine about assignments or grades.
  • Failing to perform small kindnesses when those would mean a lot ­ even something as simple as  answering phone calls from telemarketers pleasantly.
Ignatius demands that we think seriously about our lives and the role that faith plays in them ­ just as Jesus does in today's Gospel. Ultimately if we do this, we will change the spirit with which we go about daily life even if the framework of job, family, church, school etc. remain the same.

The greatness of  Ignatian spirituality is that it offers a continuum.  It has inspired missionaries, martyrs, saints and heroes to  give their lives for God. It can inspire us ordinary souls to find God in the people we deal with every day -- even inept grocery checkers and telemarketers!  It calls us to think seriously about our obligation to serve and the hundreds of opportunities to serve that we almost trip over every day.

If we get serious about finding God in our daily lives and acting on what we find, we will accumulate plenty of evidence to convict us of being Christians ­ especially if we  stop calculating our  total to date. 

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook