Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to the crowds,

“When you see a cloud rising in the west

you say immediately that it is going to rain — and so it does;

and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south

you say that it is going to be hot — and so it is.

You hypocrites!

You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;

why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Jesus doesn’t even allow for insipid conversations about the weather to occur without making a strong point and a challenge!

He goes on to talk about a dispute between two persons, who ultimately might end up before a judge, with one of them eventually behind bars with heavy fines.  One interpretation of this might be that He’s talking about mending broken human relationships before they get out of hand.

Just as easy as talking about the weather is the dehumanization of our so-called “enemies,” using convenient, descriptive generalizations: “She’s the definition of incompetence!”  “He’s the devil incarnate.”  “They’re so arrogant and self-centered, I can’t even stand to be in the same room!”  “He cares more about his X. than his own wife/family/son/daughter!”  “What a greedy little … !”

What’s that sage advice from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird?  “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To sympathize, even a little bit, with the other doesn’t excuse their sin, their shortcoming, their compulsion, …but it might help us to see them, to interact with them, to converse with them, in a more humane way.  And it might — just might — even lead to a reconciliation, a healing, a mending of what was broken.

Tis not yet a “perfect” world; the Kingdom and Reign of God has not been fully realized.  But thanks be to God for giving us the victory over sin and death through Jesus who left us the Spirit, the same Spirit who constantly is renewing us with new life, with grace, and with love.

Lord, a loved sinner am I.  And I thank you for your grace and healing my whole life through.  Help me to sympathize, even a little bit, with those whom I find it difficult to love.  Help me to see them as you do.  And let me draw from you whatever profit you wish to offer me in this time of prayer.

October 25th, 2013