Martin Luther King Jr. January 15th
What does this day mean for us as individuals, a parish, a community and a nation? Each year the nation pauses to remember, honor and celebrate the man who had a “Dream”. A dream of a world where one is not “judged by the color of their skin but the content of the character”. For many the day is a Day Off, but rather to truly honor the man, and seek to live the dream, it must but not only a day, but a reminder that our lives are meant to make a difference, have an impact on our world. The legacy that Martin King Jr, calls each of us to is a legacy of a committed life. Seeking to bring a positive change in our context for the good and well being of others.
The scriptures first remind us of our call. God calls each of us by name. He has a deep desire for us not only to know him but to have a personal relationship with him. The Lord called out to Samuel but he was unfamiliar with the Lord. Through the guidance of Eli, he came to hear the voice and respond. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. Can we quiet the busyness of our lives to come into the presence of the Lord and to listen, truly listen to His voice? There are so many voices that speak to us today, some are just noise filling a void, others are just chatter of negativity and complaint, other voices fill the air with sound but is meaningless. The word of God speaks to us and calls to a deeper level of existence, a reality rooted first in God and secondly calling us to discover who we are and how we are called to be prophetic in a world filled with so many other voices.
The prophetic voice had been silenced for 500 years before John the Baptist had come on the scene, he came with a powerful message. He was not the message, but he bore witness to the message. He spoke God’s word that energized and criticized God’s people. John points to Jesus “Behold the Lamb of God”. You see a true prophet does not point to themselves, but rather points to the one who called them, the giver of the gift. To live a life committed to make a difference for others and not just personal gain is a direct response to God’s call.
This week I visited with a family who was at a doctor’s visit. The physician spoke of his calling, the call to serving and making a difference in persons lives. He looked and pointed above, recognizing the God is the one who does all the great things, we are simply his instruments. I shared with someone in RCIA about the question from Jesus to his first followers; “what are we looking for?” In following Jesus they desired to be in His company, Jesus invited them, “Come and you shall see.” In entering the journey with Jesus they had no idea they would become world changers. Their lives were not only following Him to where he stayed, but rather they ultimately ended up totally giving them to Christ and His will for their lives. I recall Martin saying once, “I just came to do God’s will.” He saw, not only his ministry, but his leading a movement that would change a nation and impact the world. His response to God’s call left a legacy, not simply a dream, but means and drive to make that dream a reality. We may not be there yet, but we’ve got a good start. For we seek to “transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows”,” to be drum majors for justice and drum majors for peace”. To be women and men who stand with those who suffer. Recognizing we are all inter-connected and our lives are intertwined and become a beautiful tapestry of hope.