SCRIPTURE (Isaiah 50:4-7)
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Since I can remember I always participated in church activities. I was never one of those kids that complained because Mass was “boring”. I love going to Mass and being part of the parish life with my family. When I was preparing for my first communion my mom asked me if I wanted to be part of the Junior Legion of Mary. I said yes without knowing what it was. It completely transformed my love for our Mother Virgin Mary, but most importantly it helped me to understand the importance of my first communion and how deep my commitment to God had to be. From that time forward, I enjoyed being part of the church even more. I feel this was the time that God revealed himself to me and called me to be His follower.
When I was preparing for my Confirmation I was invited to be part of the youth group at St. Anthony in Milwaukee. I was so inspired by the pastor and how much he supported our ministry. At one point we had over 120 active members in the youth group. We did so many activities in and out of the parish; that journey continued to transform my heart and my mind about what I wanted to do after high school. Since I was very connected to the parish, the pastor at that time, asked if I was interested in working for the school in the finance office. I applied for the position and started working there thinking that I wanted to major in accounting. The Lord had other plans for me!
I was still involved in the parish while working for the school; when one day after lunch Fr. Anthony Cirignani asked me if I wanted to help with the Religious Education Program. I said to him that I was free on the weekends and that I could give it a try. After helping in the program for some time, Fr Anthony asked if I wanted to be in charge of the program. Of course, I said yes! Afterwards I changed my major from accounting to religious studies and the rest is history. I feel that all the things that have happened to me since I was younger have been signs of love from God.
Today’s first reading is exhorting us to be Christ like to others. We are called to be His followers with love and conviction especially in our world that is so hungry for love and compassion. In my ministry in my current parish I really feel like the servant in the first reading I constantly ask God to help me be there for others in suffering and in good times. It is humbling to walk with them in their faith journey to Him.
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House, a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20, will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
- How has your life unfolded in a way that reveals God’s plan for you?
- How might you live this week in a way that will bring the rousing, energizing joy of the Gospel to others?
- What does it mean to you to embrace Jesus as the Lord of your life? What parts of yourself must you still surrender?
The suffering Servant of today’s First Reading boasts of persevering through persecution and trusting in God’s deliverance. Many suffer in the world with little hope of deliverance. Spend time this week reading about an area where people are suffering unjustly and think of how, through prayer or in some other way you might be able to help them.
Elizabeth Melendez-Jop Director of Christian Formation at St. Roman Parish in Milwaukee