Faith Coming Alive
Quite a familiar picture in today’s Gospel: St. Luke’s account of Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening; Martha active in her duties as “hostess” for their special Guest. Thus…a picture of the struggle between the values of generous service and mindful attention and contemplation. Jesus counsels Martha to be patient, to seek a balance and not worry, to set a good example for those of us who active “do-ers”. As Jesus states “…Mary has chosen the better part…” (But some of us still question: what about the dishes and the dust-bunnies…?)
In his letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul adds to the portrait of discipleship. He shares his conversion experience, how God helped him move from persecution to promotion of Jesus and those who follow His “Way”. Paul’s new-found faith in Jesus led him on various journeys, meeting people, learning about them while he himself shared his growing faith – to the delight of those who he met. Paul’s faith “came alive” and bore fruit in both prayer and missionary action.
Today we celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi who heard the personal call of Jesus in the 12th Century to give himself wholeheartedly to a life of prayer, praise, sacrifice and service. He surely pondered God’s Word shared by Sts. Luke and Paul, helping him embrace a new charismatic life of poverty and preaching. Francis’ example inspired many others; in the 44 short years of his life, he shared the vitality of life dedicated to Jesus in both prayer and action. Thankfully, Saint Francis continues to spark the faith life of many in our day, especially our beloved Pope Francis.
As 21st Century followers of Jesus, we are hopefully inspired and challenged by the lives of Martha, Mary, St. Paul the Apostle, St. Francis – and our Passionist Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross. They invite us to consider our daily lives as women and men of faith: What about our prayer and contemplation? Our service of others, especially the poor, those suffering? The simplicity of our lives? Our heartfelt respect for all Creation? Our faith in Jesus coming alive…
May we be simple, balanced, faith-filled, compassionate followers of Jesus in our needy world!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. serves as the Province Vocation Director and also as Local Superior of the Passionist Community of Holy Name in Houston, Texas.