By Stephanie Ugwu, SHCJ
Indifference is the absence of interest, attention or enthusiasm, having no inclination towards someone or something. When you feel indifferent towards something, you neither like it nor dislike it. Pope Francis reflecting on global suffering especially the plight of the immigrants and refugees stated: “We have become used to the suffering of others. It doesn’t affect us. It doesn’t interest us. It’s not our business.” Indifference: how much damage human indifference causes to those in need! And the indifference of Christians is worse. (Pope Francis)
This brings to mind that strong caution in Revelation 3:16: “I will spit you out of my mouth because you are neither hot nor cold.” We find solace in Cornelia Connelly, who never had any reserves with God but lived her entire life belonging all to Him. For her it is: “Yes Lord, always yes!”
The call to guard against indifference is one that is coming at the start of the New Year 2016; a year specially dedicated to the theme of Mercy. We are a people who have received mercy upon mercy; and more than ever before, we are charged not only to be recipients but dispensers of God’s mercy.
Mary shows us the way. At the wedding of Cana, she refuses to stay indifferent, unconcerned or uninvolved since she was but a guest. Rather, the shame, confusion and plight of the newly married couple because they ran out of wine became hers. She refused to be a neutral guest. Her compassion, mercy and love moved her to intervene. Mary’s request on behalf of the newly married pair: “ they have no wine” is rebuffed by Jesus on the grounds that his hour had not yet come. She persisted: “Do whatever he tells you, and this led Him to grant her original request.” John 2:1-11.
We have been called in the SHCJ Epiphany Retreat series to begin anew with God, with others and with self: to be concerned about the life of others is, to get ever more involved with them, to empathise and encourage them. We see a perfect example of that in Mary. For she (Mary) sets a path for us to follow. She mediated on behalf of the couple. As Christians, we are called to do likewise. Her presence at that wedding undoubtedly made all the difference. “Her life was truly a great ‘yes’ to the Lord, a ‘yes’ full of joy and trust”. (Pope John Paul II)
Cornelia Connelly lived her entire life in total openness to God, even in the most difficult moments. She never looked back. Hers, too, was a love full of action. Mary’s invitation teaches us that in order to follow Jesus, we must take decisions, assume an active attitude, respond positively, pass from theory to practice. In her attitude, Mary shows us that in this following we cannot be easy-going or comfort-loving, but good and available servants of God through others.
May Christ grant us the graces we need to see areas where he is calling us to be more involved in serving our neighbour in this New Year 2016.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
1. What difference does my presence make whenever I have an encounter with others?
2. How much have I been involved with the plight of another in need?
3. Is there any area in which I am being called to be more involved at this present time?