- Maciej Rejniak, '11
The question is: how do you serve the Lord? This, from my Jesuit experience, is an easy question to answer: by doing everything for the greater glory of God. How does one serve the devil then? I believe that the answer is turning towards sin and away from God. This seems simplistic, almost too much so, doesn't it? It is worthy of note and remembrance that this is only a bare bones definition, that it would change for every single person, that it would present different challenges and difficulties for each one of us.
Another thing that I think is worthy of reflection in today's Gospel is: what does Jesus really mean by being with him. If it means being faithful to the Lord, of being a faithful and mindful Christian, then I think that modern society largely fails in this part.
At U of D Jesuit, students and teachers have the opportunity to gather together after school in the chapel and pray the rosary together every Monday. Not only is this a good way to prepare for the coming week, it is also a chance to pray for intentions as a group. Every single week, someone mentions praying for Christians that are suffering around the world, especially the ones that are being persecuted. We, a small group of teachers and students, then pray.
To be with Jesus, I think, requires to have a wide horizon. It requires to look at your own life, the life of friends, families, and neighbors, and seeing the graces that God has given. One then must look beyond that, at those who are suffering, from prosecution or illness, at those who are lost in their faith, at those on the brink of death, and realizing, that they too, are with Jesus, and Jesus is with them.
Perhaps this is why Psalm 23 is so popular, why the line “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” is so popular, and such a comfort, even though we may not want to see it. To be with Jesus, I think, requires us to realize that he is there for us, both personally, and as a people, if we only let him, if we only choose to be.
Society makes this difficult, however. It seems we like to have an “us” vs. “them” mentality, that we enjoy the drama that strife causes. One has only to turn into the nightly news to see this. We, as Christians, must not fall into this sort of prejudice. We must always be willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt, to try to at least see the light of God in them. Many great people weren't Christians, but cannot be seen as evil. Ghandi. Oscar Schindler. Countless others. Jesus too, I believe, is with them.
Thus, this Lenten season, let us see how Jesus is with us, and around us. Let us also try to get closer to him. A challenge, I know. Though, I think, that if we open the door, if as today's Psalm puts it “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts ” he will work wonders for us.