There's a sign that hangs in my kitchen that says, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.” I love this sign because on my best days, my life is chaotic. This is because living a life with Christ at the center is a whirlwind of activity and adventure that is constantly changing the plans I have made for the plans God has for me. This is one of the reasons I love to keep up with Sr. Julia Walsh on her website, Messy Jesus Business. Right on the opening page, she welcomes her readers to the mess that is living as a Christian. Her theology is based on Catholic Social Teaching and is centered on social justice. Not only does she talk the talk of a Christian, but she is out in the world, walking the walk.
In an article entitled The Broken Body of Christ, Sr. Julia tells the story of a Mass in which she participated on the Mexican side of the border between Mexico and the United States. The Mass was being held in honor of a young boy who had been murdered there and had yet to receive justice. She states, “I knew the issue of immigration was complex and contentious, but the call to heal the wounds in the broken body of human community was very straightforward: all of us are sacred and made in God’s image and likeness, everyone must be revered as an image of God.” She goes on to say that we are all broken. We are all struggling. We are all equal and perfectly loved by the God that unites us.
As Christians, we cannot fall into the traps set by the secular world. We cannot say that things are too complicated or that there are gray areas or that right and wrong can change with the circumstances. Jesus never said, well it depends. As Christians, we know that there is Right and there is Wrong. The world tells us that there is nuance and mitigating circumstances, but that is not what we are taught. Sr. Julia is correct when she says that everyone must be revered as an image of God. It does not matter from which side of the border we originate, what the color of our skin is, or whether the victim is even Christian. Right and wrong do not depend on one's point of view.
It’s not easy walking this path. Jesus never said that it would be. Following Christ has led me around the world and into some places where the Light of Christ sometimes only feels like a flicker. But as Sr. Julia says, “shedding our blood and tears for the sake of others is what we’re called to do.” We are called to bear witness and to advocate for change. We are called to action that requires us to be the Christ that we receive in the Eucharist each week. The chaos and the disruptive whirlwind that is my life is an adventure for which I am grateful every day. As Sr. Julia says boldly on her site, “gospel living is messy,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Elizabeth Kos is still a Catholic woman in progress and continues to learn as much as she can about her faith from the classroom as well as people she meets. Please keep her in your prayers!