This coming Sunday's Gospel includes a difficult saying: "Do not let your hearts be troubled." How can our hearts not be troubled when hundreds of girls are kidnapped by armed thugs in Nigeria? How can our hearts not be troubled when people mock those who engage in hashtag activism, e.g., #BringBackOurGirls? How can our hearts not be troubled when we remember the events of September 11, 2001? To paraphrase something our son once said, if we're not troubled we're not paying attention.
Jesus, who challenges us in this difficult saying, was often troubled as he witnessed the suffering of those around him. So it's not about hiding our heads in the sand, nor about looking away when we get close to suffering, nor about remaining silent about injustice. It is, I believe, about drawing upon the strength of our relationships - with God, with one another - and not falling into despair that can immobilize us. It is about doing the things we can to challenge injustice, to relieve suffering, doing what we can now while having the long view that Martin Luther King, Jr. had when he said that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice.
So we carry on, knowing that the little that each of us can do today may not have a dramatic impact on the world, but knowing also that surprising things can happen when we speak up or show up or act up.