We all tend to divide our universe into two parts: God’s part and our part. God takes care of the sacred, and we are in charge of the secular, the daily happenings of our lives. Much of our time is spent dealing with these daily events while we occasionally connect with God’s sacred world. Our secular world, made up of family, work, recreation and other concerns, absorbs much of our time and energy. Often we have little time left to engage in the sacred world, so we juggle our time between God’s world and our world.
The division between the sacred and the secular is never neat and clear as we struggle to belong to both. Family and work demand much from us, but so should prayer and the works of justice. Our spiritual life need not exist apart from our everyday existence, because a spiritual lifestyle is meant to be an essential part of our daily world. The challenge and the struggle is not to keep these two worlds separate, but to integrate them into one world.
Our lives must be fully engaged in our world, and yet continue to work for justice and defend the poor and the oppressed. As priest and theologian Richard McBrien stated so clearly: ”As servants to the world…and as champions of peace and justice in the world, [we] should be willing to work, within and under the auspices of any form of government while also working to change not only the social structures that dehumanize, but also the spirituality that would tolerate the perpetuation of such injustices.”
Since the dawn of time, integrating our faith into our lives has always been filled with danger. Remember the voices of Jesus and the prophets of every century who have struggled to shape their world. Today that struggle continues as we strive to see God’s image within the daily routines of our lives. When we pray…”thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we proclaim our mission, and our life’s work.
On March 24, 1980, Saint Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, prophetically spoke this challenge: “God’s reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection. …We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.” Within seconds of uttering these words, he was assassinated. Determining what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God can cost us our lives.
For Saint Oscar Romero and for many others, the struggle is over, but not for us. We continue our journey shaping a little more of the kingdom as God intended. Today, Jesus reminds us to consider our loyalties as well as our priorities as we struggle to integrate our secular and sacred worlds so that within our lifetime, the kingdom moves closer to reality. We have much work to do shaping the world as it was meant to be.
----Deacon Wilson Shierk