Commentary on the Gospel of

Eileen Wirth - Creighton University's Former Chair of the Journalism Department

“The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.” - Luke

In today’s passage from Luke, we see Jesus courageously facing down his human fears of a painful death for defying the religious authorities of his day. In doing so, he sets a powerful example of how we must confront our own moral challenges.

Because Jesus was both God and man, it’s easy to overlook how much guts this took. He knew that he would rise BUT only after suffering a horrible death. That must have been brutally difficult, even for Jesus.   

I resonate to this kind of moral courage because my late mother was one of the bravest people I have ever known. As a college student during World War II, she chose to room with a Japanese-American classmate.

A new book “Facing the Mountain” by Daniel James Brown documents how vile and pervasive persecution of Japanese-Americans was. Even those from the Midwest who were not forced into the infamous relocation camps suffered blatant hostility. White Americans like my mom who stood with them were rare.

Throughout her life, Mother was consistent in what she did and preached.

She constantly told us not to follow the crowd, which is Jesus’ major message today. In grade school, this meant being kind to classmates whom the popular crowd scorned. We learned early not to fear paying a modest social price for doing what was right.  

Like Jesus, Mother questioned authority when she thought it was merited and that also had an indelible impact on her children. As a reporter, I did a lot of stories about people who had suffered injustices and to this day, I instinctively feel a duty to help underdogs, if possible.

Still, standing up can be difficult. Even those of us who take pride in being mavericks like to do what people in our social circles approve of, such as getting vaccinated or refusing to do so. People in my milieu tend to shun anti-vaxxers (if they know any) but I keep reading that the opposite is true in other groups. We’re all sensitive to criticism such as Jesus faced.

So let’s examine our lives and try to find ways to exhibit moral courage in the ordinary things we do. Blessings to all who find it within themselves to do so.


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