Commentary on the Gospel of

Tom Quinn - Creighton University's School of Medicine - retired

The words of Wisdom are as pertinent today as they were in the 1st century B.C. We, along with our leaders, are reminded of the responsibility that we have to each other. Throughout the first chapter of Wisdom, the author hears, feels the spirit, and interprets for us the words of Psalms 2 and 8 that are quoted below: Psalm 2:10: "So, now you kings, learn wisdom, earthly rulers, be warned: serve Yahweh, fear Him, tremble and kiss His feet." Psalm 8:5: "Hear this, you who have thousands under your rule, who boast of your hordes of subjects. For power is a gift to you from the Lord."

"Rulers of the world, God will come terribly and swiftly against you if you do not judge rightly, keep the law, or walk according to God's will."

A presage of Christ's warning to the wealthy and powerful who misuse their position for gain, or abuse their authority comes in the following words: "For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy, but the mighty shall be put to the test. The Lord shows no partiality, nor does He fear greatness." If we view ourselves and our society in the light of these words, we know what we need to do as the  people of God.  We cannot merely shrug and say, "This does not apply to me (or us)." It does apply. We all have some relative power over others, whether they are in our families, work, faith community, or simply those with whom we incidental contact. We all have skills that, though we have honed them and brought them to fruition, ultimately are gifts from God.  Since we do have the power to affect other's lives, we need to love and care for others. We are told to create harmony; learn wisdom; yearn for wisdom in order to be not only instructed, but holy.

The responsorial Psalm summarizes and beautifully underlines the words from Wisdom 6:1-11. "Rescue the lowly and the poor; from the hand of the wicked deliver them."  There obviously are so many affected by lack of food, funds, and housing. We can readily help one or many from any position that we have in society. We may also consider that many primarily suffer from poverty of spirit.

Jesus loves the down trodden, marginalized, and those who are despised. Mark describes one journey that brought Jesus from Galilee to Samaria. The majority of Jews would not speak to Samaritans or enter Samaria. The Samaritans were shunned as a nation because of their intermarriages with invaders, their rejection of most of the Pentateuch, and the worship, by some, of other Gods. Samaritans, in turn, did not welcome Jews. Jesus, while walking in the Samarian borderlands, encountered ten lepers, at least one of whom was a Samaritan (and, therefore, doubly despised by the Jews). Even though Lepers were, by custom, to  announce that they were "unclean"  and to  stand apart from others, they approached Jesus. "Jesus, Master, have pity on us," they said. Jesus did have pity on them, and sent them to see the priests who would verify their cure. Only one in ten, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus.

Many individuals are shunned by others because of their origins, lack of a home, culture, illnesses, including addictions, and mental illness.  Most cannot help what has happened to them, or who they are. It may be any one of us who is, or will be shunned.  We all need healing. We need to seek and to give help. Depend on each other; let someone lean on you today. Marginalizing anyone is not the way of Jesus. Loving one another, and learning from the faith of others, especially those who are clearly less fortunate, should not be the province of only one of us in ten. The Alleluia today reminds us that "in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God." Jesus has shown us the path; we can find the way. Thank God.


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