What does it mean to be in a 'right' relationship?

Blog Published: November 7, 2022
By Sister Audra Turnbull, IHM
Reflection on Luke 17

Praying with the Sisters—November 07, 2022
This reflection was shared during our Praying With The Sisters live-streamed prayer on Facebook. A Nun’s Life was joined by guests Sister Audra Turnbull, IHM and Sister Jane Aseltyne, IHM. Both Sisters Audra and Jane are members of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI. 

(The video recording of our prayer can be found below the blog.)

Reflection on Luke 17:1-6

Jesus’ words seem very harsh at the beginning of this Gospel. But Jesus often used extreme terms. Especially in this story: he uses the image of throwing someone in the sea with a millstone around their neck, and then states we just need to have faith the size of a very small mustard seed. Sister Audra Turnbull

This story comes from Luke, when Jesus is on the final walk to Jerusalem. He’s preparing his disciples for life without him humanly present. Jesus is giving them -- and now, us -- a way to be in right relationship with one another. To be in right relationship doesn’t mean we’re to be judgmental or to point fingers. It means we call out injustice -- because that’s ultimately what sin is --  and bring the person back to being in right relationship. We hear in the bible that God’s most urgent concern is for the most vulnerable; and God’s concern is our concern. It’s not enough to just call out sin, but we need to be a part of the solution as well. 

This story is situated between the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus and the cleansing of the Ten Lepers. In all of these stories, the actions speak louder than words. The Rich Man wants to repent only when he sees how good Lazarus has it in heaven. In the other story, only one out of the ten lepers returned to give thanks to Jesus for healing them. Jesus in return tells that person his faith has saved him. 

Speaking of actions … tomorrow in the US we have the mid-term elections. Since 2020, our elections have been a tense time. But voting is the most sacred act we can do as a citizen. Senator Warnock of Georgia said, "a vote is a kind of prayer." Our politicians certainly aren’t gods, but are important in that they have a huge responsibility of governing our society. They govern our laws and set the yearly budget. Our laws and budget say a lot about who we are as a people and what our priorities are. Those on the margins are deeply affected by the laws of our land. Think of those dependent on Medicaid, Medicare, and food assistance -- and think of migrants. The list can go on. 

We can only give so much in charity before we look to the laws that cause the marginalization of people. When God is asking us to actively rebuke sin, then we have to be agents of justice and of non-violence. It’s certainly a confusing time. 

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