Monday, March 16, 2009

All or Some? 3WL 16 Mar 09

Today's Gospel

Prejudice. Take a look at the several definitions in any dictionary. The meaning is clear: words or actions or thoughts against someone, a class of people or even an idea. With this thought in mind now recall the most sacred moments in the Eucharist when Jesus' words are repeated: "take this all of you ... and eat it; take this all of you and drink from it ... it will be shed for you and for all. Jesus speaks without prejudice. He does not say "for some of you" nor ""many of you." He is clear: ALL.

The examples that earned his rejection from the temple affirm his meaning. "All of us" does not cut the mustard. "All of them," -- the outsiders, the foreigners, the non-Jews, the Gentiles -- this was prejudicial action for Jesus. Elijah saved a starving widow in Zarephath while many Jewish folks were going through a terrible famine! Elisha healed the Syrian, Naaman, of his leprosy while so many Jewish went without healing. Lastly, as we know so well, Jesus was nailed to a cross with his arms outstretched and hanged for three hours before he died not just "for some" but for "all humankind."

Stand before the man or woman dying of AIDS; stand before the man or woman who is the Pro-Choice Activist; stand before the man or woman or child who lives and possibly works among us but has no citizenship --- and say to them "Jesus did not mean you when he used that word "all." Do we understand that Jesus' use of the word "all" includes the sinner as well as the saint? Jesus had no time for the sin but we know he loved the sinner because in the sinner he saw the possibility of redemption, the fulfillment of what would be his final act of love.

What does this mean for me, today, in our world? Are there not moments when "exclusion" because of another's belief or position become more than "rejection"? Exclusion becomes the reason so many people are challenged when condemning the sin. So often the sinner is condemned as well!

For Catholics in particular, does the phenomenon of "talk radio" not pave the pave to genuine hatred? Hmm? An interesting and challenging thought: Has "talk radio" not become "hate radio"?