It’s About Bringing People In, Not Putting Them Out
Thoughts on the Second Reading – Joe Frankenfield
The Baptism of the Lord
My father was an office manager in a large company. He cared a great deal about his people and frequently that caused him distress. Once a young woman in his division, a Catholic, decided to marry a divorced man who my father knew had repeatedly cheated on his wife. When the young woman gave my dad an invitation to her wedding, he faced a dilemma. He didn’t want to give the impression that he had no problems with this man’s behavior which had caused his wife and children such pain. He was also concerned for the young woman’s future happiness and he wasn’t happy that, knowing her fiancé’s past behavior, she would still marry him.
On the other hand, my father didn’t want to hurt the young woman by refusing her invitation. He was her friend and didn’t want to destroy their relationship. Nor did he want to damage their good working rapport. The wedding was going to take place whether he and my mother attended or not.
My parents had many discussions about the situation. It was my mother who explained the issues to me saying that I needed to understand what was going on and why the decision was so difficult. There were lots of situations without perfect answers, she said. They were searching for the best answer.
Dad and mom went to the wedding. Dad later told me, “We had to go; otherwise, no matter how I might have tried to explain, we would have been writing her off and I simply didn’t want to do that.”
Drawing lines between ourselves and others is very tempting when we’re sure we’re right and they’re wrong. Yet, lines are easier to draw than to erase. And even when we rub very carefully, it’s like our second grade homework; we usually smudge and tear the paper.
Maybe that’s why God never draws lines.