Saturday, August 19, 2017

Where our hearts don't create separation (Nontando Hadebe)

   In a world where exclusion of the other and fear of the other is increasingly becoming the norm, we who follow Emmanuel are called to walk, live and talk in a different way of conversation, working with, [practicing] inclusion in the struggle for a world where our hearts don’t create separation but bring us together as a human family called together to respond to God’s salvation.

--Nontando Hadebe, of Catholic Women Preach

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jesus doesn't say... (Fr. James Martin)

 Jesus doesn’t say help the stranger 
only if there’s no risk to you. 

 --Fr. James Martin                

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, August 20, 2017: Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us...

Are you open to the Other in your midst? 

   So much in our world today pushes us to isolate ourselves from the Other – from the marginalized, from the foreigner, from those who are not like us and therefore somehow suspect.  Moreover, this was as true in the ancient world as it is today, so much so that in the Book of Isaiah, the Lord has to remind the Israelites that all peoples – Jews as well as foreigners – will be welcome in the temple so long as they hold to God’s covenant.  Psalm 67 reminds us that God knows no boundaries or borders:  O God, let all the nations praise you because you rule the peoples in equity.  Later, Paul will remind the Romans that Jesus came to redeem all humanity, and Paul himself has become apostle to the Gentiles, anticipating God’s mercy upon all.

   It’s odd, then, to read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman.  Jesus himself has chosen to enter Gentile territory, withdrawing to the region of Tyre and Sidon, yet he remains silent when a Canaanite woman of that district approaches him, requesting healing for her daughter who is tormented by a demon. Jesus’ first response is almost shocking in its exclusivity:  I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; when she persists, his second answer is frankly insulting:  It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs. Does Jesus really mean to put up barriers between him and certain populations?  All of our readings point to the contrary:  this encounter may well be an opportunity for Jesus both to test the woman’s faith and humility and to teach his disciples an important lesson.  The woman is clearly a woman of faith; Jesus’ challenging remarks only make her own her faith all the more, and her trust that God will provide overrides any insults he might bestow upon her.  O woman, great is your faith! Jesus proclaims finally, healing her daughter in that instant, accepting her and her mother into the kingdom.

   God’s mercy is indeed for all!  If we are to respond to the call of Jesus, a call Paul deems irrevocable, we too need to be open to all, to the Other, to the marginalized, to the foreigner – revealing the love of God to all so that his way may be known upon all the earth.

This post was based on Fr. Pat’s 2014 homily.
Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Troubled Waters (Simon & Garfunkel)

 When you’re weary, feeling small, 
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all; 
I’m on your side when times get rough 
And friends just can’t be found. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. 
When you’re down and out, when you’re on the street, 
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. 
I’ll take your part when darkness comes 
And pain is all around. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. 

Sail on, silver girl, sail on by. 
Your time has come to shine; 
All your dreams are on their way -- see how they shine. 
If you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind. 
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind. 

To hear this song performed by Simon & Garfunkel,
click on the video below:

Image source:  Borit Lake Rope Bridge, Pakistan

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

For sheer love (The Assumption, Joachim Smet)

  No painter ever caught the magic other going – 
This was a matter of an inward growing, 
Simple and imperceptible as thought. 
It was no pageant wrought 
Of sounding splendor, welter of gold bars 
Of molten day, mad stars, 
Flurry of quick angels’ winging, 
Bursts of their laughter ringing 
In wild bliss. 
The simple fact is this: 
Love conquered at long last. 
Her eager soul fled fast 
With a great gladness like a song 
Unto her Spouse above, 
And her pure flesh would not be parted long 
For sheer love. 
--Joachim Smet, O. Carm.,
The Assumption
Image source:  Michael O'Brien, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Monday, August 14, 2017

I am drowning (Oscar Wilde)

              Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy hand,
For I am drowning in a stormier sea
Than Simon on thy lake of Galilee:
The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,
My heart is as some famine-murdered land,
Whence all good things have perished utterly,
And well I know my soul in Hell must lie
If I this night before God’s throne should stand.

He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,
Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name
From morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.
Nay, peace, I shall behold before the night,
The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,
The wounded hands, the weary human face.

--Oscar Wilde, E Tenebris