“Well today’s first reading is a beautiful story of this Shunammite woman’s kindness to the prophet Elisha and in our Gospel Jesus teaches us about the virtue of hospitality as well. The readings are a pleasant contrast to the Church’s readings in the last two days or so when they described the Babylonian capture, the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple. Now fast forward to 1944. It’s WWII in the Netherlands. Polish troops liberate the city of Breda from the occupation from the siege of the Nazis. Following the war in thanksgiving and in tribute to commemorate their freedom the city commissions an artist to create a beautiful mosaic replica of Our Lady of Czestochowa known as the Black Madonna, the patroness and protector of Poland. Now fast forward to last Monday, this monument of the mosaic of the Black Madonna is desecrated, defaced and here in our own country, a notorious political activist tweets, ‘all murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus and his European mother and their white friends should also come down.’ Our nation seems to be under siege by the culture and sometimes I think about that proverbial frog in the pot of water that is warming to a boil. Am I becoming that frog? What will it take for me to recognize the danger and jump out of the pot? And please don’t accuse me of politic-ing from the pulpit for the scourge we face is not political, the scourge we face is sin. My intent is to call out sin and to remind us that Jesus has conquered sin and he calls each one of us to holiness through repentance. People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity. Yes, black lives matter because all lives matter: lives of the unborn, lives of the elderly, lives of the marginalized, lives of murderers in prison. Racism is a life issue. It’s a scourge. The Civil War, the civil rights movement, anti-discrimination laws have not healed it and it won’t be fixed by riots or slogans or the desecration of monuments. The answer, we must change our hearts.
So back to the Gospel- Jesus enjoins us to take up our cross and follow Him. And how do we follow him? Well we start by being kind, by offering a cup of water by being hospitable. In another Gospel Jesus instructs us to not only invite our friends, but the poor and the marginalized, those who are different. In another verse, ‘What you did for the least of my brother or sister you did for me and what you did not do for the least of my brothers and sisters you did not do for me.’ My brothers and sisters, Christians are on attack from all sides and this is not a call to arms, no it’s a call to knees in prayer. Let us examine our own hearts and recognize our own indifference. What is it going to take for me to recognize that the water will soon be boiling? What will it take for me to change my life, to take up my cross and to follow Jesus?”