“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment.”
I find this quite an indictment on my way of life. I certainly cannot use this passage from today’s first reading to describe my life today. Even as one who professes to live a life of poverty I find this statement to be untrue in my way of life. The Dominican Constitution states that friars are to be poor “in spirit and in fact.” But I am not sure I am poor in either spirit or fact.
I have so many blessings! While I try to remove the actual stuff I have in my life, those things that clutter my space and can deaden my concern for the poor, I do not always seek to remove the clutter of my attitude, removing those things from my life and my heart and my attitude that keep me from following Jesus unreservedly.
I set limits. I will only seek The Lord to a point. I hold back my willingness to do those things he calls me to do if I am to be a disciple of his. To be clear, Paul is not trying to shame us. We may not be called to exactly the same state. But it does challenge us to see what Jesus is calling us to do and who Jesus is calling us to become, and to see just how willing we are to seek to do those things and to become the person we are called to become.