1 Corinthians 2:1-5
In the Gospel we hear and ponder in our hearts the stirring mission statement of Jesus Christ our Savior. Relief, hope, and great news confront the bad news faced by the oppressed, the stubborn, the dictatorial, the blind, the freedom-deprived and the poor. I am mindful today, that in fact, 20% of our country do not celebrate Labor Day because they are unemployed. And, as we allow Jesus’ "mission for the world" to renew its penetration in us we realize again that "This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen."
We cannot underestimate the movement of the Spirit to address issues of injustice. It is constitutive to the gospels. And in our pondering, not letting pass by the words of Paul today, when he assures us that he lives and writes "so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God."
That assurance is critical if we are to embrace the same mission as Christ — addressing in our own environment systemic injustice in all of its forms. This activity will lead to the Cross in some form of rejection at a personal cost. While initially Jesus "won the approval of all" who heard Him speak, when they realized that the blessings of Yahweh were primarily for the sake of those who were foreign, at-risk, and unattractive, "they were enraged" and tried to "throw Him down the cliff." The cross of the Catholic Christian is what is endured when one speaks out and acts for the sake of Justice For All.
Although this is a "small sting of rejection," when we at Holy Family Cristo Rey H.S. in Birmingham seek employment for all of our students (the 9th graders being the most difficult to employ) we feel the sting of incredulity and rejection from potential employers who turn us down without an explanation. We do not give up, because this Passionist Mission is embedded in the Cross of Christ, the greatest and the most overwhelming work of God’s love.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.