February 8th, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, is the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking. Pray for the survivors of human trafficking, their emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. Make a personal commitment to combat this modern-day slavery.
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” John 20:24
I wonder how convincing the other disciples were about their encounter with Jesus. Thomas may have had good reason to doubt them.
And I wonder how convincing I am as a witness for Jesus. Do I embody the compassion and unconditional love and non-judgment of Jesus? Do I embody the mercy and forgiveness and non-violence of Jesus? Do I embody the service and healing and humility of Jesus?
Honest doubt nudges me to deepen my commitment to practice the God-qualities that comfort and encourage others, and that bring peace to my corner of the world.
[Jesus] cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” John 11:43-44
Sometimes I feel emotionally and spiritually dead, but Jesus calls me to come out of the tomb of depression and sends people to untie the bands of sadness, self-hatred, and self-preoccupation so that I may again relish the gifts of life, love, and companionship.
Every day is an opportunity to present myself to the Lord. “Here I am, Lord. What would you like me to do for you and with you today?”
There’s only ever one answer: Love. Love God with all my heart and mind and soul. Love my neighbor as myself. Forgive those who hurt me. Treat others as I wish to be treated.
[Jesus said to the Pharisees:] “And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.” Luke 16:20-21
How often do I notice the needs of others? How quick am I to call someone who is lonely, visit someone who is laid up, put off buying something for myself so that I can make a donation to the poor?
How often do I ignore someone who looks unkempt, drunk, ill, derelict? How often do I look the other way to avoid a difficult encounter? How often am I indifferent to the suffering of others?
It only takes a moment to notice the humanity of others, to remember we are all God’s family. One moment at a time, I am making a decision to be more noticing.