In about one month, I sit for my masters in theology comprehensive examinations. As I began my preparations, I started re-reading class notes on my favorite gospel, the Gospel of Mark. Authentic discipleship is a major and recurring theme in Mark’s Gospel and is again resonating within me. Serving others and co-creating a world of justice and right-relationships was a big deal for Jesus and is one today.
For the first time since I was accepted as a Candidate (postulant) in 2004, I am facing a time without specific programs, goals, time guidelines and expected accomplishments placed before me. However, I know that my call, within my call as a religious, is to work with women who are incarcerated or in the process of re-entering the world beyond locked doors.
There are all sorts of haunting statistics about people who are serving time that get my attention. About 70% of the people currently incarcerated in the U.S. are people of color. About 80% of the women I meet and work with are victims of physical abuse. Educators and those familiar with corrections remind us that there is a definite link between the number of jail cells constructed and school drop-out rates. Post-prison joblessness is alarming and creates a caste system that calls me to serious prayer and my current ministry.
As we continue to read Mark’s Gospel in our weekday readings, I hope that you and I will meet at one of your crossroads. How are you called to serve and co-create a just world of right relationships?