Feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle
Rom 10:9-18 / Mt 4:18-22
There is something in us human beings that inclines us time after time to define one another as either insiders or outsiders. Sometimes the distinction is racial or ethnic, sometimes it’s religious, sometimes the dividing line is economic or educational or political, or slave versus free. But whatever the cause, the lines are always there and firmly drawn. This kind of thinking has even invaded the Church at times. It was not until 1839 that a pope definitively condemned slavery. It was not until the end of Vatican Council II that the Church finally rejected the idea that there could be no salvation outside its boundaries.
St. Paul rejected that kind of thinking 2000 years ago, as we hear in today’s epistle. “There is no difference between Jew and Greek; all have the same Lord, rich in mercy to all who call upon Him.” It certainly does take a long time for that truth to trickle down to the rest of us! Yet the words of Jesus in the Gospels are full of that very insight. It makes us wonder how much of the rest of Jesus’ message we may have been missing!
Jesus asks us to look at one another — without exception — through God’s eyes, and to see in each human being either a brother or a sister, a beloved child of God like ourselves, a stumbling wayfarer very much like ourselves. He asks us to extend to each of God’s children the same compassion which God our Father extends to us every day without fail.
How can we say no? Very simply, we cannot!