Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At the side of the road

Monday it was my turn to lead the reflection on the Gospel for the meeting of program staff at Caritas. We usually read the next Sunday’s Gospel, but I goofed up and we read the Gospel for Monday, Luke 18: 35-43. A fortuitous error.

In this passage a blind man in Jericho, seated at the side of the road, calls out for Jesus but people try to shut him up. But he persists. Jesus then comes and asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man is healed and follows Jesus.

During our reflection, Manuel, who works on agricultural projects, noted that Jesus almost always deals with the people at the side of the road. He also noted how we try not to listen to them; in fact, we often try to shut them up!

Those at the margins of society have a special place in the heart of God – because they are marginalized. They call out and many try to shut them up, for disturbing the peace (our “peace”), for being a nuisance to society. But Jesus listens, draws them near– and heals them.

What a marvelous God – who listens to those we want to shut up, to those who disturb us, to those who make us uncomfortable. And who listens to us.

Manuel’s wisdom really reminded me of what we’re called to be, disciples and servants.

This week is a little less busy than the past few weeks and so I was able to get to Hogar San José (the home for malnourished kids under 5) on Sunday and to the comedor de niños (the diocesan lunch program for kids) on Tuesday.

At the comedor an older kid – about 11 – whom I don’t remember seeing before, came up to me and hugged me. I don’t know why – but it touched me. And he was barefoot!

At the side of the ride Jesus finds those in need. And so the blind man “immediately received his sight and followed [Jesus], giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.”

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