It’s rather astounding how many “outcasts” Jesus runs into in Luke’s Gospel. Tax collectors, widows, lepers, the demon-possessed: each have something that makes them unclean, untouchable and/or destitute. We tend to feel grateful, even self-satisfied, that we no longer understand those who suffer with mental illness to be demon-possessed. But, have we really come so far?
It’s March Madness and I’m a sports nut. I’m from Wisconsin and, of course, I was cheering for the Badgers all the way to the Sweet 16 when they faced Florida. Somehow, in the last two seconds of the game, Florida drained a three to win it. Being the wonderful disciple and faith-leader I am, I immediately began hoping Florida would get blown out, I mean embarrassed, in the next round. Why? Because they beat us!
If you’re not a sports enthusiast, try these on for size: Did your party/candidate beat their party/candidate in the last election? Are they (kids, dog owners, homeless folks, late-night-motorcycle-revvers, etc.) a problem in your neighborhood? I’m just getting warmed up…
The passages from Luke 18-19 we’ll hear on Sunday point, yet again, to people who have been ostracized and cast aside from their communities. Yet again, Jesus seeks these individuals out. He loves them. He heals them. He restores them. Why is this so hard for me to remember?
Instead of wallowing in self-loathing about my inability to stop myself from finding ways to make someone an “other,” I’m going to take this Lenten opportunity simply to notice it. How many times a day do I see someone else as “other” because of their sports team, political leanings, driving(!), or socioeconomic status? Will you join me?
Jesus makes the blind see – maybe there’s hope for me yet!
See you Sunday…