With all that is happening in the world and in the news, I have been reflecting on what it means to be Catholic during this time. Looking to God and the values that have been instilled in me, I have considered what more I should be doing, what questions I should be asking that I’m not, and how to continue to lean into those questions I am already holding. But I still find myself uncertain of my footing in this world we find ourselves in.
In this week’s readings, I was struck by the theme of “calling.” In Isaiah, God reminds Cyrus of God's constant support and guidance. God says “I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.” Through the acknowledgement that Cyrus didn’t know God, God is reminding us that God’s presence is constant, though we may not always feel it.
In the First Letter to the Thessalonians, the people are celebrated by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, who thank the people for their work and deeds, calling them to the continued work of Christ by saying, “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” Through these words, the Thessalonians are celebrated for their work, and reminded that it is far from over.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we encounter a conversation between the Pharisees and Jesus. In an attempt to trap Jesus, the Pharisees ask, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Jesus responds by calling out the Pharisees saying, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” Jesus the tells the Pharisees to see Caesar’s face on their coins and give Caesar what is his, and do the same for God. This challenge by the Pharisees to pit Jesus against the civil leadership of Caesar, was meant to throw Jesus off balance, but instead, Jesus called on the Pharisees to do more. Jesus’s reminder that what belongs to God is more than just passive, unauthentic beings, but rather, our truest selves, actively engaging in the world.
In these tumultuous times, I am comforted by the honesty of these calls and reminder that we have each been called by name into God’s grace. The work that is being done is good, but it is not finished. And in challenging moments, being authentically, and actively engaged in our world is God’s call.
In the week to come, let us consider: In what ways is God calling us during this time? Who in our lives should be celebrated? How are we showing up authentically to our communities?
~ Rose Murphy, Class of 2021, B.A. in Public Affairs and Theology and Religious Studies