It is so hard to respond to Sundays' Gospel with the usual words: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ!
Praise?? For chopped off hands, feet and missing eyes? Gross! Yuck. Ewwww. That really can't be what Jesus is talking about here.
Going deeper into the absolute mystery of this passage these are the things that catch me:
That 'cup of water' and the 'little ones'.
Living in NYC, it's almost a daily event to see a person in need asking for some help. Money, food, a metrocard...my own personal favorite story was the day I lost my last job, I was approached by someone looking for money to get on the train to go to a job interview...and I simply told him I had just lost my job...and he wished me good luck...you can't make this stuff up!!
In any case, I am often reminded of the need to be respectful and compassionate, even if I can't be financially helpful...I can always offer what I think of that biblical cup of water...sometimes on a hot day, it may be an actual cup of water, other times it may be just treating a less fortunate brother or sister as a human being.
And the little ones....how do we not think of the tenderness our Pope is showing to all, especially the youngest ones in the crowds that are greeting him on his U.S. trip? Pope Francis certainly seems to embody this gospel quote...as he embraces and blesses our children.
But then I'm back to the chopping off hands and feet...we had a discussion here last night at our monthly LGBTQS group in the Parish and we all found our way to the idea that maybe what Jesus was trying to tell us was: If there is something or someone in your life that prevents you from drawing closer to God, to following Gods' will for you in your life, then maybe we need to separate ourselves from that obstacle. It's easy to see how money, power, fame, and even some relationships may lead us down a path away from all that is good and holy and of God. It's not comfortable to look at that, and not simple to make the change that might be needed. But in our quiet moments, if we are thoughtful people, we know what brings us closer to God, what makes us our best selves, and what gets in our way...
So, with the image of Pope Frank everywhere this week...let's take a few minutes in prayer to ponder how we too, like the Pope, can be a good example of living out the Gospel message in our world.