“Happiness comes to those who are fair to others and are always just and good.”
“We are ALL brothers and sisters.” That was the message of today’s gospel and homily and they were both eye-opening and timely. They also go hand-in-hand with the above crayon photo, which is trending as the new and improved variation on skin colors and the coloring of them.
Leading off with the popular 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not pompous or boastful…” reading, mass then turned to the gospel and Luke 4:21. In it, Jesus is not accepted by some even in his “native place” and He scolds others for not accepting lepers, foreigners, or anyone different from themselves. Fast forward to today’s world and you can’t help but see the correlation between the lepers of Jesus’ time and today’s refugees and immigrants.
Father’s homily was powerful and riveting. Sitting there, I’m certain I wasn’t alone in asking myself whether I’m welcoming to others. Do I tolerate differences? Do I accept even though I disagree? I’ve always joked that as a conservative Oklahoma Sooner living in uber- liberal and home of the Texas Longhorns, Austin, Texas I have no choice but to do just that if I want friends and co-workers who like me, but in all seriousness and in matters more important, yes but sometimes sadly no.
I’m human and have no shame in my game admitting that the global refugee crisis concerns me. Do I believe many of them are innocents? Yes, of course. Do I fear that hidden among them are potential terrorists and enemies of the free world? Absolutely. Would Jesus accept them? Probably so. Would he condone the recent string of rapes and sexual assaults committed by them in Germany, Sweden and other countries that have welcomed them with open arms? Probably not. Do I want them next door to me? Sadly, no. Do I want them living next to my daughter. Again, no.
Does all this make me a bad person and a non-Christian? I pray not. What about you? Think deep and think hard about it and be honest with yourself.
“Comfort those who are scared and help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
Always be joyful and always keep praying. This is God’s will.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Father also spoke about St. Francis calling everyone his “brothers and sisters” and encouraged us to do the same. All people…the rich, the poor, the gay, the straight, the right-wing, the left-wing, the black, the white. It’s a tall order but one we must strive to fulfill. Again, I struggle with doing so every day. I struggle on congested roadways. I struggle as I watch the news. I even struggled in mass today as a young child made loud noises and was allowed to walk up and down the aisles all during mass. This annoyed me. His doing so was very distracting to me. Then I thought, “Would Jesus want him and his family in mass even though he was disruptive?” Yep, and double yep. Back to “love is patient, love is kind,” right?
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Driving home from mass Smitty and I talked about judging people and being judgmental. What exactly do they mean?
Basically it’s having an overly critical view of someone and judging them too quickly and too harshly. It’s one thing to disapprove of someone’s actions and think you are better than them but it’s a whole other ballgame to do so based on what’s commonly considered right and wrong. It’s a fine line and one we all walk on a daily basis.
As you start your work week try to be less judgmental and think of ways you can maybe be more patient, more kind, less rude, and less self-seeking. I promise to do the same.