*Alternate* First Reading: Excerpt from Sr. Joan Chittister’s THE TIME IS NOW: A Call to Uncommon Courage

The temptation, of course, is to refuse the invitation to really “follow” Jesus—that is, to be in our time as he was in his, to really feed the hungry or contest with the practices of oppression or deny the piety of sexism, racism, and economic slavery.

In fact, we often ignore, resist, reject the idea that, like Jesus, we have a role to play in righting a world whose axle is tilting in the wrong direction. We refuse to accept the notion that to turn the compass points of our worlds back to the True North of the soul is what it means to be truly spiritual.

 Our task is to be “obedient,” to keep the laws, the fasts, the dogmas, and the feast days, we argue. But the question we fail so often to ask is, Obedient to what and obedient to whom? Our task is to be obedient all our lives to the Will of God for the world. And therein lies the difference between being good for nothing and good for something.

Between religion for show and religion for real. Between personal spirituality that dedicates itself to achieving private sanctification and prophetic spirituality, the other half of the Christian dispensation.

Yes, the Christian ideal is personal goodness, of course, but personal goodness requires that we be more than pious, more than faithful to the system, more than mere card- carrying members of the Christian community. Christianity requires, as well, that we each be so much a prophetic presence that our corner of the world becomes a better place because we have been there.

 The Words of Joan Chittister.

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