We had a group meet in the parish last night, and together we broke open the gospel for Sunday about the feeding of the 5000...men...As one of the group pointed out, in John's version of the story, it doesn't even say 'not counting women and children'. How much more invisible could those women and children possibly be?
I remember learning in scripture study that one school of thought on that miracle was that folks sitting on that hillside, once they saw the example of the young boy, opened up their cloaks and decided to share the food they had brought with them for the days journey. Who do you think prepared and brought that food?? I'm pretty sure it was the women!!
But the opposite of being invisible is being judged solely on how you appear in public. Which is the other issue that women and, yes, all people deal with all the time. Women are judged by an unrealistic beauty image and more often that not, found lacking. Men too for that matter. We do it to each other.
It's impossible not to have a first impression, I guess. I think what I need to try and do is not ACT on my first impression. I have to learn more to look in the eyes of the other person and see who they really are. I need to listen to their story before I decide if this is someone who I want to get to know better. I need to be respectful of the humanity of another. And that's what I want to teach by example to my nieces and nephew, and to the children in our faith formation programs. In a society where we are so quick to judge people because of difference, I want to learn better to take a breath, and see for myself who the other person truly is. (And yes, I'd still like to be thinner, but that would be for my health, not because I need to look like a Barbie doll...)
Everyone has their gifts to share...and what a blessing it is in life to discover what each other's gifts are! Who can bake? And share their goods at the hospitality table? Who can sew? And make an amazing Glinda costume for a crazy aunt? Who had money to share? And does so very generously with the parish they love? Who can teach? And will help our youngsters learn about God's love for them? Who can organize? And will keep us all on track? Who can make us laugh? And will lighten the mood at any meeting?
I guess what I'm thinking as we approach the weekend is simply this: In God's eyes, we ALL count! The sooner we learn to live like that, see others the way God does, the better off the world would be!