Commentary on the Gospel of

Julie Kalkowski - Creighton University's Heider College of Business


Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”       - St. Teresa of Avila

Why bother acknowledging that last year was like no other?  No year is like another. But last year, last year so re-ordered our lives that none of us can be sure what comes next. Before last year we made plans, now we try to cope as the sand keeps shifting below our feet.  Before last year, we could predict with some accuracy what was going to happen, so we knew what to expect. Not so with 2020, not so.  2020 brought us up short—it made us face the reality that we are not in control. It shook us in ways we had never been shaken before.  

I think that is why this line from the first reading of John spoke to me so forcefully: “We know that we belong to God.” 

If ever there was a year that I learned I was not in control, it was last year.  From the pandemic that upended all our lives, to the many personal difficulties that confronted me last year, holding on was the best I could do. It was a year that knocked me off my axis and I am still trying to regain my footing.

Reading that I belonged to God was reassuring. It comforted me in a way few things had in the last year. Then, as I reread it again, I noticed it said “We”, not “Julie” or “I”.  We all belong to God.

Given the rancor of last year’s election, it is easy to forget “We” means everyone.  The color of your state doesn’t matter to God because that’s who we all belong to.

Our church is reading Love Your Enemies by Arthur Brooks. It describes how polarized our political processes have become.  Instead of disagreeing over policies, we now vilify people who belong to the “other” party. We label people who don’t agree with us as racist or socialist and feel contempt for them, not connection.

We cannot build the kingdom of God if we are contemptuous of those who think/feel differently than we do.  Continuing this mindset moves us farther away from the work God is calling us to do.  Our communities, our country, our world are all so troubled, we don’t have the luxury to waste our time judging others or wondering “How can those people think that way?”

We must roll up our sleeves and get down to God’s business. “We” all belong to God and “we” need to start acting like that.  But how, how do we bridge this divide?  How do we start seeing someone who could support a candidate we can’t stand as someone who “belongs to God”?

Again, it is the example of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel who can guide us.  John was very clear about his role in ‘preparing’ the way of the Lord.  John knew who he belonged to.  When Jesus began baptizing people, John calmed his disciples by helping them see he (John) was only the best man, not the groom. “He must increase; I must decrease.” 

While John is talking about Jesus, what keeps coming to me is that my ego, my conviction that ‘I am right and others are wrong’, must decrease so that God can increase inside me.  I need to let go of my judgments and bewilderment so I can start seeing those I label as ‘other’ as someone who “belongs to God” too. If I can change my attitude, I will be more open to understanding their point of view. Which could foster dialogue and perhaps eventually move us to seeing our common interests, instead of our differences.

As I ‘decrease’, God can increase in me so I can start seeing with God’s eyes, not my limited, disparaging ones.  And that will free me to focus on the work of being the hands, the feet, and the eyes of Jesus. (St. Teresa of Avila)



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