Preparing for Ordinary Sunday 13B

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

The Church exists as a parable of the hospitality and the radical inclusive call of God in Christ Jesus.

Today happens to be Refugee Sunday, and in an odd way, our long Gospel speaks to alienation, need and hospitality: a microcosm of the story of salvation.

Jairus comes to Jesus and begs him to help his critically ill daughter. While en route the story is interrupted by a woman who touches Jesus’ clothes.  The key detail is that this woman has been bleeding, haemorrhaging, for twelve years.  Hers is not just a physical, but a social condition.  Under Jewish Law, she is ritually “unclean”.  This woman has been essentially outcaste for twelve years.

She might meet Jesus in a crowd, but is utterly alone.  Her money is gone, spent on doctors and failed cures.  Desperate, she dares to break the Law that keeps her isolated by touching Jesus.  Making him unclean, according to the rules.

Perhaps such a story makes sense to the refugee: those who have had to leave the ordinary world they know; the roles and relationships that give life shape and meaning; the security of language and land, of money and even identity.  People who in desperation often have to break the rules.

Our response to such people should surely be modelled on Jesus:  compassionate, aware.  Finding time and space for them, even when there are other critical demands.  Returning them to, making for them, a place of inclusion in the world.

We live in a land of plenty.  We are called – as are the Corinthians in Paul’s appeal for the Church at Jerusalem – to be generous:  Generous in our giving.  Generous in our attitudes and our dealing with those who are different to us.  Generous in our welcome:
We saw a stranger yesterday, we put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place,
And with the sacred name of the triune God
He blessed us and our house, our cattle and our dear ones.
As the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.

Celtic Rune of Hospitality


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