“As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them,’Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Then they abandoned their nets and followed him” (MK 1:14-20).
As I reflected on last weeks’ Gospel, this specific passage of following Christ, caused me to reflect on how Christ is visible in my life, and that is through service. My service experiences here at Dominican University have taught me that even the smallest work done is special when God is involved. The cornerstone of our Dominican heritage at Dominican University based on prayer, study, community, and service. I am certain that it is never my work, or anyone else’s work, but it is always God’s work because I know that God can only work through my hands.
My service experiences have allowed me to humble myself as I have seen how many people struggle to survive. I have learned to be thankful for what God has blessed me with, and I have promised myself to help others. I have seen that even the simplest form of service can change another’s life. I have realized that when people actually take the time to help someone in need, it can give the most rewarding gift: making someone’s day better. I understand now that no one can change the world alone or very quickly, but it takes steady effort, and a community to make the world a better place.
With the help of many people in this community I have been able to engage in the most wonderful experiences of my life at Dominican University: studying abroad through Service Learning in Cuernavaca, Mexico and living the simple life of a Catholic Worker through two of the University Ministry’s Alternative Spring Break Trips in Chicago and Kansas City, Missouri. Through these experiences I was able to understand a little more about the injustice of poverty. I attempt to put in words, what these experiences have done for me. Although I can serve others, I gain more in return. I saw, smelled, and walked through poverty, but it was my poverty of spirit that was fed.
Poverty is not just far away; it stares right in the face. We cannot ignore it because being silent is being part of the problem, we must “follow” the way of Christ. Practicing the idea of social justice has allowed others to raise awareness about the injustice of poverty. During both of these experiences, I reflected on the Social Justice Teachings of life and dignity of the human person, solidarity, right and responsibilities, and option for the poor and vulnerable. I have realized that social justice cannot be achieved without eradicating poverty locally and globally.