Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lambs among wolves

The following are some excerpts from a reflection written by my friend, Marianist Sister Nicole Trahan, on the Mass readings for Sunday, July 7.   I thought I'd share it with you.   And maybe hire her as my personal homily writer :)  It was written for a group of young religious sisters, but I think it applies to all who are on a pilgrimage of faith.  
The only picture I could find of Sr. a UD basketball game last year.

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” says our God through the prophet Isiah.  The message is one of hope – Rejoice for what God will do for you.

The people who originally head this message had just returned from exile – nothing was the same as it was before – nothing was as they expected it to be. We can imagine that there was a temptation to despair – to lose hope. But God speaks to them words of comfort, hope and joy.  A good message for us - we know that God also speaks to us a message of hope, of joy, of comfort. Also, God works through us that we might bring comfort, hope and joy to others.

We are told in our Gospel that we are called by Jesus to do this as lambs among wolves. For many years, when I was younger, I believed that statement to be mostly about facing hostility from the people “out there” who look to attack and perhaps devour – I saw it as a call to a type of martyrdom. And it is. But I’ve come to realize this from a new perspective.

The statement, “Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves…” is a call to be the anawim [the poor, the least ones] – a call to vulnerability – to poverty. This is how we are to approach our ministry, our prayer, our lives. Without the “money bag” of substantial material resources…Perhaps without being clothed in the “sandals” of prestigious titles or positions of formal power and authority.

To be like lambs among wolves – completely vulnerable and poor… in other words, completely dependent on God in whom we have placed our trust and promised our lives – and to live interdependently with our sisters and brothers...

Pope Francis, when addressing the media shortly after his election, stated, “How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!” For it is in this poverty that one recognizes our need for God and for one another… the necessity of interdependence.

Jesus sent out the 72 in pairs. This is a tremendously important detail on which to reflect as we consider our call to mission and ministry in the 21st Century. We cannot, nor should we try to, do this alone. Community is key – I’m not only speaking of the communities in which we live or the community that is our Congregations – but inter-Congregational, lay/religious, male/female, cleric/non. Being insular, solitary, or territorial in our approach to ministry is a disservice to those with whom and for whom we serve.

Speaking personally, as a member of a very small, international and older Congregation, I have had to look to our Marianist Brothers for peer support, partnership in ministry and co-workers in mission. And this has been one of the most enriching and life-giving aspects of my ministerial life. And… it’s prophetic. Oh, that the Church could better witness to male-female collaboration and equality within the institution!

In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul encourages us to see beyond that which could divide us, “For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation…” A new creation – God is inviting us to collaborate in this new creation.


You can also check out Sr. Nicole's blog at