The Perspective of Justice

Sweat and Toil

We have reached the point in Luke's gospel where Jesus is setting out on his ‘great journey’ to Jerusalem, a journey which symbolizes our journey through life toward death and resurrection. In the course of our journey we are to follow Christ. “Come after me,” Jesus says, and our response is to be: “I will be your follower wherever you go.”

We can ask if we follow Christ. Do we walk in the way of the cross or do we follow some other way?

We can ask how we follow Christ. Do we follow Christ through some special calling or through the ordinary Christian vocation and through the acceptance of the challenge of daily living?

We can ask which Christ do we follow. Do we follow a Christ of our own making, one that confirms us in our present lifestyle, or do we follow the Christ of the gospels, especially the Gospel of Luke: the humble Christ dedicated to the liberation of the poor and oppressed?

The call to follow Christ is no mean challenge: “Let the dead bury their dead; come away and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Sweat and toil, which work necessarily involves in the present condition of the human race, present the Christian and everyone who is called to follow Christ with the possibility of sharing lovingly in the work that Christ came to do. This work of salvation came about through suffering and death on a cross.

By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the son of God for the redemption of humanity. He shows himself a true disciple of Christ by carrying the cross in his turn every day in the activity that he is called upon to perform.

Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, 1981: 27

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson