Paul’s call that others protect and care for the flock he leaves behind in Miletus echoes the prayer of Jesus that those given him by the Father be guarded and not lost. Am I being vigilant in preserving and learning more about my faith and encouraging others as they do the same? Or, does the guise of open-mindedness, a laissez-faire attitude, and tolerance, cover apathy on my part toward the welfare of others and my own welfare?
In so many areas of our lives we face tough questions and the urge is to bury one’s head in the sand rather than face them. So what if a large percentage of high school students don’t graduate? It is their choice. So what if children are born in poverty, with single parenthood being a contributing factor? I can’t tell people how to live.
So what if my brother is an alcoholic? It’s his decision whether he stops or not. In matters of faith we face equally vexing questions: How do I get my children to care about religion? What do I do when my faith is at odds with what my government does? Am I following Christ when I am following my church? We ask God for help in sorting through what our intellect, knowledge, understanding and will provide, and we rely on the counsel of others whom we trust. We also examine our motivations, biases, blind spots, attachments, and vices or virtues in our action or inaction. We have faith that God moves us to hope and life and not despair and death in difficulties that we face.
Care today for someone who might otherwise be forgotten.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J. is Associate Novice Director at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Paul, MN. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.