The readings today remind us that we cannot be clannish. We can’t be looking out only for our own kind: for fellow Catholics, fellow Republicans, or fellow Democrats. In the first reading St. Paul told Timothy to urge Christians to pray for Roman authorities, working with them to secure a quiet, tranquil life for all citizens.
In the Gospel the Jewish elders asked Jesus to cure the slave of a Roman centurion, and Jesus brought the man back to health.
In my eighty-three years I have witnessed the various peoples of the earth coming to know each other better. An Irish priest friend of mine working in China came home on leave, and an old lady in his Irish village expressed her understanding of things. She said, “I hear that them Chinese would be horrid yokes altogether.”
When, as a twenty-six year old American priest, I settled in as the only foreigner in a Korean town, the people there seemed to be ninety-nine percent different from me. But after I had been there a few years I saw that the people were at least ninety-nine percent the same as me. The little kids in the market took me for a walking zoo, jumping up in my face, shouting, “Hello, okay. Hello, okay!” It offended me that that they couldn’t see that we are all the same kind of persons.
I find it the same in my four years of riding Jacksonville’s busses with black people. At first I saw them and me as opposite as day and night. Now I don’t see any them at all. I see thirty or forty unique individuals, each reading his or her magazine or set of school notes; each man and woman wrapped up in concerns with the people at his or her workplace or the people at his or her apartment.
We are all God’s children. He wants us to love one another.