Romans 11: 29-36
Luke 14: 12-14
Today’s Gospel challenges us to re-think the social conventions that subtly control our ways of living. Jesus loved to up-end such choices to embrace in love and everyday living all those excluded, disdained or ignored.
Pope Francis invites us to live in this way, the same as Jesus, embracing this Gospel of Encounter. What exactly does this invitation to encounter mean for each of us today?
It seems to me that to really ‘encounter’, we need to heighten our awareness, consciousness and acceptance of what is going on in ourselves and in those around us … eyes, ears, mind and heart open to receive all the signs and sighs of pain and suffering, neglect and disrespect, loneliness and despair, from people and situations around us today.
We need to see and understand with the mind of Jesus, to feel and care with the heart of Jesus. This encounter is an invitation to be vulnerable and risk being immersed in suffering ourselves. Standing with others in the shadow of the cross is an encounter with humanity at its most fragile and an encounter with Jesus most loving.
It is risky business challenging the status quo; acting differently and expecting no reward other than the genuine encounter itself. It was how Jesus lived his entire life and look at how some people treated him for it!
Yet our YES to living Jesus’ gospel of encounter offers immeasurable opportunities for healing, growth, for a fuller life, for others and for ourselves.
So take a few moments to reflect:
- What have you encountered in yourself today that opened you up to greater life in Jesus?
- How have you interacted with another today so that you offered them hope and lifted their spirit?
Pam Storey is a member of the Passionist Faith Community at Holy Cross, Templestowe, and one of the founding members of Passionist Companions. After a very active and varied family, church and working life, Pam is now focusing on developing a slow spirituality.