Sunday, December 25, 2005

[Insert your holiday name of choice here] Blessings

As we Catholics celebrate the Solemn Feast of the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I would like to take the opportunity to send wishes for blessings, peace, joy, and well-being to all you folks out there in BlogLand and Beyond .... regardless of which winter holiday you celebrate or if you celebrate one at all, or if your "winter holidays" don't show up for another six months or so (given our societal northern-hemisphere bias) .... regardless of whether you subscribe to a smitething God or a loving God or the Dude of Bigness or some something or nothing .... regardless of where you go on Sunday mornings or how you live the other 6.9583 days of the week .... regardless of if you're married officially or unofficially, in a committed relationship or not, regardless of who OKs it or not and/or what body parts your partner does or does not have relative to you .... regardless of where you stand on any number of political, life, social justice, educational, or other various problem-causing issues .... regardless of whether you think God hates certain people or you think God hates people who think that God hates certain other people .... regardless of where you went to school, if you went to school, what color your skin is, what country your great-great-great-great-great grandparents came from, how you tie your shoelaces, whether you believe the toilet paper should go over or under the roll, how many toes you have on your left foot, or any of the other absurdly ridiculous things that we manage to come up with to allow us to like or dislike other people.

And ya know why?

'Cuz Jesus came for everyone. That's what we Catholics believe (even though we don't always act like it). He hung out with sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors and lepers, and he talked back to all the official church folk. The rules that said you shouldn't care about certain people, Jesus said to ignore. Jesus' two greatest commandments?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.
The second is like it: You should love your neighbor as yourself.

Those commandments are followed up by the question: "But Lord, who is my neighbor?"

Jesus answers with a story about how it's the most reviled and horrible person who is the one who most acts as "neighbor." Not the priest, not the rabbi, but the hated Samaritan. He's the one who showed compassion, mercy, and concern. Think about it ... if the Judeans hated Samaritans, the Samaritans probably didn't think to kindly of the Judeans. Yet, the Samaritan helped him anyway.

Who is my neighbor? The smelly homeless guy on the streets ... the illegal alien sneaking across the border to "steal our jobs" ... that crazy lady upstairs with the sixty-two cats ... the guy on death row ... those demented Democrats .... the raving Republicans .... the Iraqi insurgents ... the folks displaced by Katrina ... the folks who say that the displaced folks deserved it .... the suicide bombers, their families, and their victims .... those who say theirs is the only way to go ... and those who argue against them.

We are all neighbor. By Christian teaching, we are all daughters and sons of God; that it is through Christ's actions that we have become adopted children of God.

Not just Catholics, or Methodists, or Baptists, or Lutherans, or even Christians. Not just Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, or anyone else.

All means all.

So, even if you don't subscribe to the idea of Jesus and all that, I do. And that means I need to see all as my brothers and sisters.

Thus, I take the occasion of my own personal faith-tradition holiday to send much-needed wishes of grace and peace to the rest of the world -- because grace and peace are gifts that are not limited by denominational boundaries ... nor are they limited by months on the calendar, either.

So, to everyone out there ...
May peace, blessings, grace, and joy find their way into your hearts.


Anonymous A said...

The best Christmas homily I've ever heard. Wow! Rock on sister Steph!

12/25/2005 2:22 PM  
Blogger What Now? said...

Lovely post! A wonderful Christmas to you.

12/25/2005 8:29 PM  
Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

And a blessed Solemn Feast of the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ to you too, Sr.Steph!

ps Thought of you and your midnight Mass last night. I hope the rain missed you, or that at least it was warm and candlelit inside.

12/25/2005 8:41 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

That just about covers it. Thank you, I think.

Merry Christmas to you, too.

12/25/2005 10:13 PM  
Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

a belated merry christmas my bloggy benedictine friend

12/27/2005 12:21 AM  

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