32nd Sunday A – Born That Way
Some people are born blonde, others with ‘red’ hair and others again with black. Some arrive with high IQ while others have less than average. Psychologist Abraham Maslow tells us that some people are born to be logical thinkers, others to be strong achievers, and others again friendly helpers. Some are born with gifts of wisdom while others are not. For whatever they were born with, none should be excluded or made to suffer.
One of the last stories Jesus told was about wise and unwise maidens waiting to go into a wedding feast. The wise ones were welcomed inside whilst the others were shut out from the party, being deemed unfit to be at the same table. They were excluded and made to sit outside in darkness and in the shadow of death while everyone else was offered a clean, warm and well lighted place within. It’s unthinkable that the groom would have ignored their plight and not extended to them a belated invitation to come in from the cold. After all, they may well have been inculpably ‘unwise,’ born that way through no fault of their own.
The Catholic Church has had a long history of trying to exclude people from God’s kingdom. But something different is in the air; the Spirit (‘breath’) of God is stirring. Pope Francis said in the current documentary, ‘Francesco’: ‘Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it‘ (1). As a world leader Francis was appealing to secular society to provide legislation for homosexual people. As a Christian leader he was affirming their humanity and inherent dignity, opening the door of mercy instead of shutting it in judgement.
‘Come to the wedding and see what happens. The bent stand up and stretch. The club foot is lithe and dancing. The hacking cough has melted into a cradle song. Tongues that never formed a word are pleading to be heard. And ‘See me! See me!’ cry the smooth skinned lepers. Those who were blind stumble about in light unimaginable. What really happened is that Jesus, around whose feet washed up this sea of human misery, did not just cure. He dropped his dignity like a worn out coat. He joined the jig of the once lamed – hopped and clapped and beat the time. He sang bass with a barbershop quartet of the once-mute and joined hands with happy dancing mothers and set up botany class with the once-blind. Then, when they got too tired to keep carrying on, they all sat down to a banquet of bread and wine and fish…’ (2)
Fr. QQ – 11/4/2020
(1) Pope Francis and Civil Unions (Humanity and Anthropology), Sylvie Goulard in LA CROIX INTERNATIONAL, Nov 3, 2020
- Christopher Lamb and James Roberts in THE TABLET, Oct 31, 2020 – p 25.
(2) Sister Miriam Pollard ocso, THIS DAY, Nov 2018 – pp. 71-72