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Jennifer D. Tilghman

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Can a blind person guide a blind person?" (Lk 6:39-45)

Are we living our best lives today, right now? Do we feel that we are at our best right now? Is there any room for growth? Are we where we really need to be in order to lead others to a greater, purpose-driven life?

I ask these questions because there definitely is room for growth in all of us. When we fail to see the need for continuous growth, we become blind to opportunities. We then are no longer ready or even capable of leading others to grasp hold of the opportunities that are usually right before us. When we fail to see the need for continuous growth, we become mediocre or average and limit ourselves in what we can achieve individually and as a community.

Our ancestors were visionaries and purpose-driven. Their labor fueled the Industrial Revolution. Slavery did not stop their Christian generosity, as their contributions touched the lives of all people – not just the black people. Black women cared for both black and white babies (as nannies) and took care of all of the household tasks, while others did the work in the fields. When the timing was right, and opportunities were presented to them, they were ready. They acquired land, created and owned businesses, educated the youth, and developed a mindset of respect and responsibility. They depended only on the power within themselves -- God. Through their efforts, we are blessed with the comforts that we have today. How are we moving within their legacy to continue to grow and provide for ourselves? Our ancestors stood firm in their faith and in the teachings of our Black Catholic Heritage. How are we growing in this legacy today?

Have we lost our focus and drifted? Are we more concerned with having the shiny objects, creature comforts, and things that make us "feel good" – for ourselves? Have we lost our sense of direction? It's easy to get pulled into another direction, taken off our course when we have not spent time journeying inward. "The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had" (Sirach 27:6). Journeying inward is taking care of our spiritual health. It is consistent time spent in determining who we must become in order to be that model our ancestors modeled for us. How do we teach and lead those who will come after us, the value in homeownership, acquiring land for our own church communities, acquiring commercial spaces for our own businesses and schools? How do we teach and lead those who will come after us the value of educating our minds, gaining new insights on wealth building for everyone in our community? And how do we teach and lead those coming after us that same faith that was taught to us? Our ancestors contributed under the weight of slavery, poverty, and oppression. Even in our current settings, we can too!

This is about studying and living the seven principles of Kwanzaa! It is about answering the questions of Maulana Karenga's Kawaidi Theory, "Who am I?", "Am I who I say I am?", "Am I the person I ought to be?" As we take this journey within, answering these three questions, and committing to staying on the journey, becoming the person God created us to be, we gain the wisdom and are prepared to fulfill God's purpose in our life. We do this as a community and the journey within becomes the test of the one who wants to live in his/her purpose.

And what will our communities look like when every person understands and is committed to first "becoming" the people God created us to be, then doing the work of continual growth – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically – in order to have what God has for us? God wants us to acquire the wealth to own our land, build our church communities, schools, and businesses, and have all of the desires of our heart – which will be His desires because we will be His people – people of Faith, living our best lives, in Christ.

Authored: Jennifer D. Tilghman

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