A wake-up call to kingdom living

Stewardship Narrative Series

Sunday, November 3, 2013
All Saints Sunday
Proper 26 – Luke 6:20-31

On this All Saints Day, Jesus tells us of the four blessings and contrasts them with four woes or curses. The blessings are directed to the poor, the hungry, the weeping and the excluded. For those of us who are not poor, hungry, weeping or excluded, when we hear Jesus’ woes, perhaps we feel like we are being reprimanded. We are not being scolded; rather Jesus is giving us a wake-up call to kingdom living.

Jesus wants us to be more mindful of those in need and to live out our faith to fulfill the holiness of life. It can be challenging to follow Jesus. Sometimes we are asked to do more than we think we are able to do. However, the saints before us and at present time remind us and encourage us to be bold in our faith.

Daniel Groody, a Catholic priest and college professor with years of work in Latin America, tells a story of the undocumented immigrants who are struggling along the Mexico/US border that stretches across forty miles of deserts, mountains and other dangerous areas. On one summer day, the temperature in the Arizona desert area reached 120 degrees. Samaritans, a humanitarian organization, sent out volunteers to offer life-giving water and food to immigrants crossing this dangerous terrain.

The Samaritan volunteers saw a group of about twenty immigrants. They called out to see if they had water or food. The immigrants, not knowing who the volunteers were, but very mindful of the perils of desert heat, yelled back that they had no food left, but they did have a little water to share, should they need it.

These immigrants knew need and recognized need in their midst, and they did not think twice about sharing their lifeline. In sharing their water, they honored the holiness of life that God had given as they would their own. In sharing their water, a precious commodity and source of life, they honored the true Source of Life.

What can these immigrant—the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the excluded and unwelcome—teach us? They had the faith to share from their scarcity; can we share from what we have? To be bold in our faith requires the awareness that God is holding us all responsible for the well-being of the other. To follow Jesus is to go where there is pain and suffering. The Communion of Saints remind us to not be afraid, to not turn a blind eye to the needs of the world, for it is in our responding, in our sharing that we are blessed.

Reflection Questions

  • Where does our faith connect to the world’s needs?
  • How is our faith deepened in being present to the needs of others?
  • How do we experience blessing in caring for the other?

 

The Rev. Ada Wong Nagata
Associate for Asian Ministries, The Church of Our Saviour
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
Convener, Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries, Chinese Convocation
© 2013 The Episcopal Network for Stewardship

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