February 17, 2022
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, two disciples of Jesus are our teachers. James advises us on what to do. Beloved Peter, as so often is the case, shows us what not to do.
James tells us to show no partiality. He makes clear that he is talking about impartiality toward those who are materially poor. It’s a maxim that Jesus gave us time and again in the Gospel.
James reminds us that Jesus is not just impartial toward those who are poor, he actually has a preferential love for them. So Jesus was partial to the poor, right? Hmm!
Yes, I think that’s right. In order to balance our human inclination to the richest, best, strongest, etc., Jesus teaches us to go all out in the other direction.
It’s like this great cartoon that popped up on Facebook a while ago:
Our Gospel picks up the theme.
Because of his great love for the poor and his passion for mercy, Jesus tells his followers that suffering is coming. Peter doesn’t like hearing that. Can you see Peter take Jesus aside and say, “Listen, Jesus, negative talk is going to hurt your campaign. You’re God! You can just zap suffering out of your life!”
Jesus responds to Peter definitively: “Get thee behind me, Satan!”
Wow! That must have stung! But that’s how important it was to Jesus that his followers understood his mission: to preach Mercy to the poor, sick, and broken by sharing and transforming their experience.
Jesus wants us to understand that too.
Prose: from St. Oscar Romero
It is no honor for the Church
to be on good terms with the powerful.
The honor of the Church consists in this,
that the poor feel at home in her,
that she fulfils her mission on earth,
that she challenges everyone,
the rich as well,
to repent and work out their salvation,
but starting from the world of the poor,
for they, they alone are the ones who are blessed.
Music: Beauty for Brokenness – Graham Kendrick