The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2019 – Cycle C
Genesis 18:1-10a; Psalm 15; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42
I was recently walking down River Street and you cannot help but notice the signs: RSS Project – WRONG for the 6th Ward – WRONG for Oneonta. (RSS Rehabilitation Support Services)
What is wrong and why this project is wrong are not articulated. You can only fit so much information on a lawn sign, a bumper sticker or T – shirt. These methods of communication are not seeking conversation or reflection. Yet without impugning justified reasons some people might have to question aspects of this project, standing alone the message I received was clear and simple, someone is not welcome here. An intended message or not?
We are a city and area in need of affordable housing. People suffering from mental illnesses and drug and alcohol abuse are prevalent in our streets. Budgets and services are being cut.
More and more people around the world are not welcome or wanted. The Rohingya people are not wanted in Myanmar. The Palestinian are not wanted s in the Middle East. Christians are not wanted in Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Sub-Sahara African refugees are not wanted on the shores of Europe. Central American asylum seekers and refugees are not wanted on our border with Mexico. African Americans, Jews and Catholics are not wanted by white supremacist groups in our country. Outspoken women of colour are not wanted. The poor, the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, the abandoned… Where is everyone to go?
We sang in the opening hymn “All are welcome…” Are they? And were reminded that “the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face”. Are our hymns just nice sentiments or do they express what we believe and live out?
We sang, “let us bring an end to fear and danger”. Is the beginning of a Christian response to this human plight of rejection to reflect within our own souls why we fear other people? We all do to some degree, don’t we? We fear people we have never met. People whom we heard stories about or continue stereotypes. People whom we presume the worst of. People who look different, talk different, are different then ourselves. And yet we don’t seem to realize that they are looking at and judging us by all the same criteria. We are the ones who look, talk and are different!
We sang, “Let us bring an end to fear…” The welcome and hospitality that Abram afforded strangers was rooted in a lack of fear. Only without fear can we run toward the stranger and our welcome be genuine.
Recall another refugee family. Joseph, Mary and Jesus who were seeking asylum in Egypt when they were made to flee from the murderous Herod, who welcomed them?