Today we increasingly hear about being “woke”. In this Vincentian Mindwalk I will try to move beyond any narrow political meanings.
First some background
Pardon the pun, but some are just waking up to hearing about being “woke”. It originally highlighted the need for those with dark skin to have eyes open and be vigilant when traveling in white areas.
But, today, ”woke” means different things to those on the left and those on the right.
On the left, to be “woke” means to identify as a social justice advocate who’s attuned to contemporary social inequities. It’s a point of pride to be called “woke”.
On the right, “woke” — like its cousin “canceled” — bespeaks “political correctness” gone awry. It’s a term of great derision.
Here I would like to explore the words in terms of Jesus’ life and death.
Moving beyond being politically “woke”
We all know what “waking up” means”.
Sometimes an alarm clock to wakes us up. At other times something happens or just “clicks”. We see new meaning. We change our ways of thinking.
Jesus incarnates both.
His words wake us from unconsciousness about our original sin of radical self-centeredness.
His life spells out what that dream involves – radical love even to forgiving those who put him to death!
We forget God has first loved us into existence and continues to love us no matter what good or bad we do. “Can a mother forget her child?”
Unfortunately, many think we have to change God’s mind about loving us by getting everything right! We can’t force God to love us! God does and always will!
Rather, Jesus simply asks that we learn to love one another as God has loved us. Jesus loved everyone, shockingly, even those who put him to death. The “scandal of the cross!”
The challenge – “love your enemies” certainly calls for a change in our “eye for an eye” thinking … something truly radical for us.!
It is not something we wake up to once and for all. We will only be fully “woke” when we “pass over” into the eternity of God’s kingdom.
Until then we are caught up in the process of daily dying to the original sin of our self-centeredness and waking up to understanding what we say too glibly – OUR Father!
The word Jesus uses for his wake-up call is “repentance”. Its root meaning is “change your way of thinking”.
A follower of Jesus spends a lifetime waking up
Waking up does not happen once and for all with our Baptism. In our earliest hours and days, we thought we were the center of our universe. We spend the rest of our lives overcoming our self-centeredness. (Marriage and family is for most the school where we are first challenged to learn this.)
Over time we realize families come in different colors and dress differently than our “tribe” or closest family group.
Another awakening is that no one, not even ourselves, is perfect. Each one of us struggles and needs loving support.
Unfortunately, we still get caught up in thinking everyone must look like us, think like us, celebrate like us. We struggle to learn from and be enriched by our differences.
So, yes, Catholics should be “woke”… and waking! We will struggle until the day we die to wake up to the implications of being individually and collectively the Body of Christ.
Catholics as a profoundly “woke” people
- How “awake” are you about what it means to pray OUR Father?
- Are you waking up to the challenge of the “scandal of the cross”?
Click below for an early version of this Vincentian Mindwalk