“You break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe….Free all the world to rejoice in his peace, to glory in his justice, to live in his love.”
(Opening prayer for the feast)
“All things new?” Show me where! How long, O Lord?
Changes or closings of cherished parishes loom in one diocese after another. Partisan bickering in our legislatures gets uglier, while millions are without jobs, homes, and hope. Those elected or given responsibility to lead their people and serve the common good have fallen woefully short of the job. We shake our heads sadly while people and institutions we once trusted betray us or crumble.
Where is the gift in this moment? How is God’s promise to make all things new coming true?
Newness comes through those who act like shepherds – who make a home to gather those displaced and scattered, who look after the weak and wounded. God promises to be this way with us (Ezekiel). In today’s Gospel, Jesus paints an unforgettable picture of the end times when we will be judged not on our right thinking, our orthodoxy, our adherence to rules – but on our care for the least among us.
The Constitution of the Sisters of Charity of New York reminds us that “the Gospel overturns all purely human understanding of authority.” Jesus offers us an alternative way. Jesus gives us a different lens through which to view leadership. We get a glimpse of that lens in today’s readings.
Jesus Christ our King overturns all human understandings of kingship – not being at the top of the pyramid, not claiming privilege at the expense of others, not demanding homage, not “lording over” like the world’s rulers. Christ sets the bar higher by stooping lower, by showing us an image of servant leadership, by shepherding the lost and wounded. St. Vincent de Paul lived this Gospel as he saw the face of Christ in the hungry, thirsty stranger, the naked, sick, imprisoned person in need.
We keep waiting and longing for the day when all of us who bear leadership responsibilities, great and small, will truly follow Jesus’ example of serving others like a caring shepherd. May that day come quickly! May we
Here’s my resolution for this season: Don’t let the bad news get you down, don’t let it cloud your vision. There is so much to be grateful for. Everything is the gift of a loving, caring, ever-present God. If we but look, if we stay awake, the signs of the reign of God are all around us. Let’s resolve not to miss them!
– Sr. Regina Bechtle
Sr. Regina serves as Charism Resource Director for the Sisters of Charity of New York. A retreat leader and spiritual director, she gives presentations to lay and religious groups about St. Elizabeth Seton and our Vincentian-Charity heritage of spirituality.
Our life of faith is nourished by prayerful reflection on and sharing of Sacred Scripture experienced as the living Word of God.
Sisters of Charity Constitution
These comments on Scripture and on events of our time flow from the prayerful reflection and rich experience of our Sisters, Associates and colleagues. We are happy to offer them to you, and pray that these words will open your heart more fully to the living Word of God.
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