Sunday, June 10, 2007

The unexpected guest
Another sermon from Tripp coming to me as an after-Mass read with 1 Kings 17:8-24 as his text
People stream across our borders. They flee political and economic droughts. And here they encounter a drought of another sort. They encounter a drought of compassion. Politicians wrangle with one another. They contemplate walls, laws, and appropriate enforcement.

People are poor. Dare we have compassion upon them and allow them in?

Can we have compassion upon the poor and destitute within our own borders? Can we be instruments of compassion in their lives, stopping on our way to heal and to give life? Can we find jobs for them? Can we help craft a community, a society that recognizes its own poor as worthy of compassion and grace? Will we recognize our own prophet beggars? Or will we allow other systems, ungodly systems, to define their place in our society?

It is as if we are all beggars in a time of famine.

Godly power is compassion. It shows no partiality. Are we prepared to offer up this kind of compassion?

When God encounters suffering, it is the nature of God to take compassion. God does not ponder the questions of asset management, convenience, loyalty, and purity.

In the end, the One God will send down rain, compassion upon all the countryside, those in Judea and those outside.

We are recipients of such compassion.

And we are the instruments of such compassion.
Reminds me of the Jewish customs at Passover of the cup and opening the door for Elijah and in some Catholic cultures — Polish, Lithuanian and Ruthenian — of setting a place at the table (Wigilia, святый вечер) on Christmas Eve for an unexpected guest representing the Christ child.

I’m sympathetic to immigrants (all who want to work, as immigrants famously do, should be welcome) but understand the ‘asset management’ of a country’s obligation to its own.

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