The gospel for the second Sunday of Easter was a familiar one. We usually read it this way: “Whose sins you retain are retained.” Sister Barbara Reid, the one who comments on every Sunday gospel in America Magazine, says the word sins is not found in the Greek text. She says that a better way to understand that phrase is “anyone you hold fast is held fast.” I find that very interesting and a propos of the Cristo Rey Network.
She goes on to recall that in 1989 Sister Thea Bowman spoke to the U.S. bishops about the needs of the black Catholic community. “At the end of her address, she asked the bishops to sing with her and link arms, as in the days of the civil rights marches. She invited them to stand up and reach out and take each other’s hands, which they did. ‘No, not like that,’ she admonished as they tentatively took one another’s hands. ‘Cross your arms over your chest and then take the hands on either side,’ she instructed. ‘That’s how we did it in the civil rights marches. You have to move in together, close to one another, and hold on tight so that no one is lost in the struggle.’”
I think we can apply that same exhortation to our Cristo Rey Network. We are in this together. I don’t have 350 students at my school; we have 5890 students at our 24 schools. Together we can thrive and become better, not alone. Do I only care about my school? My students? My board? Sisters and brothers, haven’t we had as a guiding principle from the first day that our decisions were going to be based on what was “good for the students”? I suggest for your prayerful meditation that we have a moral imperative to hand on what we have received to as many needy young people as possible. We are talking about schools (and students) that don’t even exist yet. Each of our schools is working for them, all of them. “Anyone you hold fast is held fast.”
There has been a sea change in how the Network operates: until the present, it gave out a good part of the resources needed to starts a school. But by the grace and goodness of God, we have outgrown that function. Now the Network is asking the members to help provide resources. The Cristo Rey Network helped get schools started and now needs the help of each and every one of the members to give this same gift and even a better one to more students and families. “Anyone you hold fast is held fast.”