Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand?
Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation— I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Enough! Basta! This is the refrain of many protests. Enough gun violence! Enough racial injustice! Basta immigrant detention! Enough mass incarceration! Basta family separations! I often feel overwhelmed by the injustices and the calls for reform. I hope for action but see little change.
The prophet Isaiah addresses the people of Sodom and Gomorrah with God’s exasperation, “I have had enough.” God’s rebuke is not against their evil acts but against their use of ritual and prayer as atonement without a change in behavior. Even though God’s message says, “I have had enough, I am tired of listening, I will hide my eyes,” there is hope. There is a way of reconciliation: “cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” These actions bring one to a closer relationship with God.
Enough! Basta! What is our response to the evils we see? How do we live in the tension of “I have had enough” and “I am willing to act for change”?
—Julia Vargas is the director of the Center for Service Learning at Rockhurst University.
Come Holy Spirit, come. In this age of anxiety and stress, I ask for the grace of fortitude. Be with me as I struggle with anxiety, indifference and despair. Remind me that I have your strength to bolster my own. Guide me to act from a position of love, not fear.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!