Follower of Jesus (27)
Jul 16, 2017
Follower of Jesus (27)
Blessed are those who hunger
And thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be satisfied. (3)
Now that we understand the meaning of “righteousness” as expressed by Jesus, we can begin to look at how we, in our ordinary lives, can be a righteous person and express righteousness in our lives. We are not a Mother Therese, or a Gandhi, or a Martin Luther King, or at least I am not. But we can be a Jimmy Carter, at least in the ordinary facets of our lives. President Carter spends his free time helping Habitat for Humanity, working along with everyone else, doing whatever needs to be done. And don’t forget he is 90+ years young.
Some of the ordinary efforts that fit this category of righteousness is Meals on Wheels, preparing and serving meals for the homeless and others, visiting hospice patients, and so many other volunteer jobs that are available. I know many that are involved in many efforts of helping others in ways that can only be accomplished in a group situation, as the extent of the effort would be overwhelming to say the least to the individual.
But even as an individual you can make a difference: recognize a need, see what can be done, talk to others to spread the word, and get others excited with you to solve a problem. Many years ago (1969) when Eileen and I lived on Long Island, one of our friends noted that one house on one of the back roads had quite a few Spanish speaking men around, every evening. Some of us stopped by, and discovered that the house was being used as a barracks for 30+ men who worked as day laborers for the farms and landscaping organizations in the area. We decided to organize and see how we could serve them. It became obvious that all were Catholic, but there were no Spanish speaking priests in the area. So we approached the diocese through our pastor and suddenly there was a Spanish speaking priest assigned to our parish, and eventually a Mass was said in Spanish each week. We searched around and found someone who could teach English as a second language, and arranged for a class once a week. Articles appeared in the Long Island paper, so that other Spanish groups could join with us for a wider community. When we left in 1971 to journey to upstate NY for a new job, we left a thriving community that was working hard to integrate themselves in the wider community, and many new friends that we would not have met any other way.
All this occurred because we would not take ‘no’ for answer. We were responding to a need that was seen, and let ourselves be guided by many others to find the answers.
Even in our smaller worlds there are many opportunities to serve others (another term for being righteous). Is there someone who is a caregiver in your circle of friends? Can you relieve them for an hour a week to give them time to catch their breath? Has someone recently lost a spouse or child? Can you take them out, perhaps have dinner with them a few times to relieve their pain? There are countless ways of visiting the sick, even a phone call, and so many other ways to help another in a time of need.
The most precious thing we have is time, and it is by sharing our time that we can bring the Face of God to another person. As St. Francis reportedly put it: “You should preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” It is by our actions that we are known. All commonly used expressions and cliché statements, but their truth is expressly clear if we are to act as Jesus acted.
The righteous person hungers and thirsts to bring the Joy of God to all they meet. The righteous person is fully honest with what is right. Like President Carter, they challenge and call for the good of God’s people, and they recognize that all people, including those who many shun such as the LGBT and those in prison, etc., are all part of God’s people, each of whom is loved by God, and is the image of God. President Carter removed himself from his life-long church denomination when they condemned the LGBT community, rightly recognizing that they too are people that God loves and we must love also, if we want to claim to be followers of Jesus.
Infinite Wisdom, who offers me love at a level I cannot fathom, I lay myself before You and surrender myself into Your loving care. Open my eyes to see, as the prayer states, the strength to leave what I cannot change, and the strength to change what I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference. I place my trust in Your wisdom, and I know that You will not abandon me. You have never failed me, and have always given me the right path to follow to become ever more like the Likeness of God, as promised in Genesis. I bow in grateful peace knowing I am safe in Your care, now and forever.