Lighting a flame of hope

Editor’s Column, Sustained by Grace

Jul 10, 2021

Ms Patricia Pereira

To have a blessed life does not always mean to have an easy life. On the contrary, to be blessed means to accept an invitation to follow and imitate the life of Jesus Christ. Will it be easy? No! Did the Lord experience hardships or suffering? Yes!

Following Jesus is not an easy path. Following Jesus means that every day we have to consciously choose to be and do what Jesus did. At times, this may bring consequences that we do not expect.

“Following Jesus” may sound romantic. However, if we truly live as Jesus lived, we may rock some boats and make enemies just as he did. However, we always have a choice. What is the choice we will make each day?

The late Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy was a modern-day disciple of Christ who wanted to open up paths in society, not using power over people, but humanising life, alleviating people’s suffering, allowing freedom and fraternity to grow. His reward? Imprisonment, shackled to a hospital bed during the last days of his life and dying a lonely death. Some may wonder: Was it worth it?

When faced with adversity and challenges, do we stop what we are doing? Do we stop being who we are? Do we retreat from showing our love to our neighbour? In the events happening around us, not everyone will tread on the same path. Families, friends and faith communities may stand on opposite poles when it comes to social issues. The ‘White Flag’ movement has met with some criticism as well as great support, with naysayers suggesting that food banks could be a haven for unscrupulous opportunists. Nevertheless, many of us are unfazed by these negative connotations. Both locally and around the globe, dioceses, parishes, groups and individuals are relentlessly reaching out to the needy. Why do we feature similar stories week after week? Because this is our faith in the marketplace – this means lighting the flame of hope in the lives of those around us, especially during these bleak times.

Jesus did not stop being Himself when the people close to Him rejected Him. He did not abandon His ministry. Instead, He moved forward to another town where He would be accepted. He continued to do His work, sending His disciples into the world. He even gave instructions to His disciples: Shake off the dust before you leave. This is the message for all of us. If people reject our acts of love for our neighbours, let us shake off the dust of disappointments on our feet: their rejection of our actions is testimony against them, not against us.

Let us not retreat to our little corners but rather move forward to places where our actions and identities will be accepted. Like Jesus and His disciples, rejection should drive us to continue ministering to the world and to show God’s love to everyone and everything that God created. Wherever we are, wherever God places us, He’s sending us into the world to serve Him and to bear witness to Him, and we do that with all of the gifts He’s given to us. Let us reach out and touch others with our love, care and concern. In today’s world when most everyone is in a hurry or too busy to slow down, we can give the gift of our interest, time and support. This may not sound like much of a gift. However, a few minutes of truly being present to another person may be the most precious gift they will receive today!

The best portion of a good person's life “is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love” (William Wordsworth).

I hope you enjoy reading my inaugural issue as editor as much as I have enjoyed working on it.

Until next week, stay safe and stay blessed.

Total Comments:0