Hearing the Word of God on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

For 15 January 2022, Saturday of week 1 in Ordinary Time , based on Mark 2:13-17

As he passed by along the sea, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Over the past two years, as I have committed myself to bridging the racial divide, I have been drawn to the cause of Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman. In her home diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, and across the country, Franciscan Sister Thea was a joyful preacher, educator, missionary disciple, and advocate for cultural awareness and racial harmony. Sister Thea once said, “I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things to make change. But if each one would light a candle, we’d have a tremendous light.”
Today, as we in the United States begin the celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Martin Luther King would want each of us to do our little bit to see and affirm the light of Christ in the many faces of humanity. We can do our little bit from week to week to become what Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned as a “beloved community.”
In this weekend’s Sunday readings, the prophet Isaiah says, “No more shall people call you Forsaken, or your land Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight, and your land Espoused.” We can help God fulfill this prophecy by seeing the light of Christ in one another.
In this Sunday’s readings, St. Paul says to the Christians in Corinth: “Brothers and sisters: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”
And this Sunday, at the wedding in Cana, Jesus will turn water into good wine.
By the working of the Holy Spirit of Jesus, the water of our ordinary but gifted lives of service can overflow as good wine for the benefit of God’s beloved human community. As Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman reminds us—each day, we can do our little bit to see the light of Christ in each other.

Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.