Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 19, 2021
Spiritual author Fr. Richard Rohr talks about “see(ing) the text with your available eyes” and hearing the Gospel “from your own level of development and consciousness.” That’s a mouthful. But, upon reflection, it compliments Bishop Ken Untener’s suggestion that preachers prepare their homilies with the newspaper in one hand and the Scriptures in the other.
The goings-on in our world affect the vision with which we read God’s Word.
Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Doesn’t this mean that The Good News should inspire good works? And if that is the case, isn’t the daily news the place to look for ways to give life to our faith? Isn’t it helpful to use current events as a tool to dig deeper into Sacred Scripture?
As I sit with this week’s Gospel, I have an image of Jesus wrapping His loving arms around a little kid. “Available to my eyes” as I ponder this passage is a press release from Bishop Gruss.
As I heard Jesus say:
Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me…
my own “level of development and consciousness” was elevated by the knowing that our Bishop is “encouraging people of faith and good will to put aside political differences and focus on the needs of the children.”
The press release begins:
“Calling for the compassionate treatment of young children who have migrated to the United States from Central America and Mexico, and, most recently, Afghanistan, Bishop Robert Gruss is encouraging people of faith and good will to put aside political differences and focus on the needs of the children.”
“For so many of us, our hearts are torn as we learn of unaccompanied children who are fleeing all kinds of trauma, only to find themselves caught in the middle of strong emotions, hostile attitudes, and opposing political positions.”
These statements are very much in keeping with recent, urgent teachings by Pope Francis, as well as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
And so it was gratifying to learn from the press release that:
In the Diocese of Saginaw, there are conversations underway regarding a youth refugee center in Alma, which would shelter children who are between 12 and 17 years old and who crossed the border alone. The shelter would operate with federal funding and the children would remain there for an average of 40 days as staff work to reunite them with their families.
A request to rezone a vacant nursing home to be converted into the shelter was denied in early August. The issue will now go before Alma’s city commission for a final decision.
I am unaware of all the issues and concerns that will be placed before this commission. But, hopefully, the decision-makers will have “available to their eyes” this week’s Gospel. And, as they evaluate the arguments for and against offering a safe haven to these children in dire need, they will approach the issue with a “level of development and consciousness” that includes these words:
Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me!
Who would want to zone out Christ?