|I Jn 4:7-10
Ps 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
It is the beginning of a new year, a time for reflection and resolution, a time to reassess and refocus. Today's psalm response and gospel call to me in a special way in this time of pause between the old and the new year.
Justice and peace shall prevail, says the psalm. The king's son shall be endowed with justice, will govern with justice, will defend the weak, will rule from sea to sea. The gospel relates the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The phrase that struck me as I reflected again on the passage was "They all ate, and were satisfied." It doesn't say they they were still hungry, or that they gorged themselves, or that they hoarded the excess, just that they were satisfied. This concept of satisfaction suggests to me a balance, a harmony between our real needs and our artificial wants. And who was the source of this satisfaction? The Son of the king, the one who will rule with justice from sea to sea.
As I drove into work today there were several news stories on the radio. The homeless population in the U.S. is increasing, and disturbingly the increase is comprised largely of families with small children. The reports are that the documentation provided by Iraq is in "substantial breach" and that the question now is not whether there will be war, but when. The church is still beset with scandals, with no resolution or abatement in press coverage in sight. Unemployment is increasing, and the U.S. government, in its compassion, found a way to vote pay raises for Congress while cutting off unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed (timed to cease the day after Christmas).
There is a popular theology movement in the U.S. right now, perhaps world-wide, that asks people to reflect on What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? How would Jesus respond to these problems? But how can Jesus "do" anything with these problems right now? How can He work for justice and peace? Is He physically here, leading the movement? Or rather, is He here, if at all, only because we open our hearts to His message and let His love work through us to bring peace? I think this WWJD movement has it backwards - it isn't what would Jesus do but rather What Will I Do (WWID) that counts - how will I respond to homelessness and threat of war and the church and all the other problems I see about me? Will I cluck my tongue and shake my head in disbelief and disengagement or will I find the one little thing that I can do to make a little, tiny bit of difference? I don't think we are called to solve all the problems we see, only to treat the victims of those problems with dignity, respect and compassion by lessening the individual burdens they feel. We are called to feed them whatever they need until they are satisfied. I think if we feed those who hunger until they are satisfied - not still hungry, not gorged, not so they can hoard - we will be solving the problems about us.
And so my prayer for today, my resolution for the year, is to ask
WWID when I see these problems, to be more aware and to respond consistently
with my call from God, to feel the love of Jesus flow through me to bring
peace and justice from sea to sea.
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