The Challenge of Discipleship

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Preaching Essay
The Author


Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican


All of us who claim to be Christian are called to discipleship. This poses some challenges for us. How can we answer the call to discipleship in a community of plenty and in a nation of growing disparity between rich and poor? How can we be in solidarity with the poor and marginalized of our society while enjoying an abundance of life’s blessings. In a world that surrounds us with illusive and empty promises, where and how do we find the truth?


I recall that I have been blessed with a good education and many connections around the world. This fact gives me a lot of power which I must claim and know it is not for domination or self-service but for service and action on behalf of those without power.

Every day, my basic needs are met, including access to healthcare. I must remind myself every day that the security I enjoy is not for myself alone. It challenges me to use the secure base that I have, to befriend and walk with those without life and hope and basic necessities. It frees me to challenge systems and structures that are not life giving and to offer resistance on behalf of those suffering and hope for a better future. I can use the connections I have made to heighten awareness of the plight of so many and to invite them to share their time and resources to build caring and inclusive communities. I can use my time to make my community and our world a better place for all its inhabitants.

We live in a stratified society. We have the leaders and the followers, those who minister and those ministered to. When we work with struggling people we must remember it is their goal we are helping to accomplish, not our own. We are more than workers doing a job. We are witnesses. Do we allow the Spirit of God to inspire us, work through us and shine beyond us?


How do we need to be transformed to more clearly reflect the face of Jesus to those we serve? How do we work to sustain the dream of the people and the dream of Jesus over the long haul? Gandhi reminds us "We must be the change we want to see happen."

Prayer and support are essential elements of our working for a just and peaceful world and to remain in the struggle over the long haul. They will help us bring the attitudes and values of Jesus to those nameless and faceless living on the edges of life. We also need help in proclaiming the message of Jesus in the midst of a very different cultural



Any power, privilege or other benefits that we have are not to be used for control or manipulation but to giving voice to the voiceless of our time. Our reflection on the Word will relieve our minds of any sense of self importance and our desire for our own comfort and convenience. We can use all our gifts and resources for befriending and walking with the powerless and offering them hope of a better tomorrow. We can work at creating new systems and structures that are life-giving and that will replace the culture of greed, domination and competition.


We have seen in recent months, the coming together of people from various political parties, races, class and creed to bring help and hope to the people of Haiti devastated by an earthquake. The helpers were more concerned about being morally correct and less concerned about being politically correct. Their goal was to bring immediate relief to those whose lives were endangered. This demonstrated that another world, another way of doing things is indeed possible.


The challenge is ours. With God’s help we can accomplish the work at hand. Let us begin today with courage, conviction and hope.


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

• Justice Bulletin Board •
• A New Year •
• Two Essays on Peace •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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