Weekly Preaching

Jesus’ Call for Radical Change

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 14, 2022   

Jer 38:4–6,8–10
Heb 12:1–4
Lk 12:49–53

Sister Doris Rauenhorst, OP
Sr. Doris Rauenhorst, OP

Faith has been the focus of our scriptures all week. The theme as I read the scripture passages, I was struck by the mirrors they offer us for our reflections on all that we are living through today. Jeremiah’s experience of violent opposition to God’s prophetic message mirrors for us many aspects of our contemporary Church life, as well as the chaotic political climate of today. Perhaps to the surprise of the disciples, even the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are challenging and confusing. The disciples may have hoped to hear words of compassion and healing, but what Jesus invited them to was a demanding life of discipleship which might sometimes be marked by division and disharmony. Jesus’ call for radical change could inevitably result in such consequences.

Paul’s letter to the Hebrews offers a different kind of challenge for our reflections today. We are “running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” We are striving to live into that radical change called for by Jesus in today’s Gospel. While the nature of the radical change Jesus demands takes on different shapes and colors for each of us, we are all striving to embrace a still unfolding shared future, shared by all of us who are driven by a passion for the mission entrusted to us by Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP. The Gospel’s “great cloud of witnesses” are our companions who support each of us in our common mission to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to open the way for the Gospel. No one of us has the definitive model, and each one of us brings our own lived experience to the struggle. Together we strive to understand and respond to Jesus’ call in this present moment of our shared lives. 

We listen carefully, thoughtfully, and generously to the whispering of the Spirit guiding and sustaining us in our holy endeavor. Let us also be prepared to feel the “whoosh” of God’s grace that we believe will come, just as it did to our early Sisters who called 23-year-old Sister Emily Power, OP, to be their leader.

by Sister Doris Rauenhorst, OP