As someone who works in Student Life at this university in the Midwest, I have the honor to address our incoming new students and their parents several times as they are beginning their first year as freshmen. During one address, I tell the new undergraduate students that they will experience moments of homesickness. I share that they will feel out of sorts at times and that this is normal as they transition into a new community. When talking with them I tell them of my transition into college and how I leaned on others throughout my years. I share that my prayer for them is that they “fall in love”, or discover their passion, as Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. prayed.
What I neglected to share with them is that these new students, all of them, belong to each other and to our God. When they are struggling with roommate issues or wondering how to maintain their relationships at home or how to make new friends, they are all called by God to engage their faith. It is a faith that unites us. It is a faith that knows no separations or divisions. They all belong to Christ as children of God. This is the commonality that unites them and should comfort them in their questioning moments.
And just like the students I am blessed to work with daily, we all struggle at times to feel like we belong. There may be times we question our place at work…are we valued? Are we underemployed? We may question our place in our families or friend circles. Am I being heard? Do we fit in? Are we loved?
The first reading today points out that no matter who we are….male or female…Jew or Gentile….slave or free…we all belong to our God. Our faith calls us to community. This communion with our Lord is based on a faith that saves us all. The Lord remembers his covenant with us; our praise and service help realize this.
In the Gospel, one can easily read that Jesus corrects the woman when she speaks. Instead, Jesus points out that while Mary was holy and a servant of the Lord, so are all of us who hear the call of the Lord and have such faith as Mary.
In times when we may feel troubled, may be preoccupied with the economy, may be questioning our futures, the readings today call us to remember that we are loved and accepted just as we are - troubles, insecurities, doubts and all. We are called to have the faith of Mary; we should let that resonate in our hearts that we are all children of God….from college students starting their life’s journey to everyone in-between. We are all called in our faith to love and serve the Lord no matter our life situation.
P.S. As this is my very first reflection for the Online Ministries, I can’t help but acknowledge that October 13th is the feast of St. Edward the Confessor. While this feast day may not be significant to most, I lost my grandfather, Edward, this year. I dedicate this reflection to him and ask for his continued prayers.