This week’s readings are, seemingly, providentially appropriate. In our First Reading, we see the Lord impel the Israelites to bear in mind always their own roots of slavery lest they think to treat people of foreign cultures, whether man, woman, or orphan, with malice. Our God reminds the Israelites that they too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. As is noted in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, we see that, if anyone mistreats the defenseless or underprivileged, this negligence “would incur a wrathful Yahweh”.
The Second Reading tells a similar tale of a familiarity with slavery. St. Paul writes to the people of Thessalonica, reminding them that they were once enslaved to sin until they witnessed the Apostles’ holiness. He then lauds their faithfulness, calling them “model[s] for all the believers”. The word used here for “model” is τύπους, or typos. This word meant not only “example”, but a shadow of an imprint marked on an object that had been struck (like how a pillow becomes dented when punched). We are all called to be typos of our faith for others. Not just to share some words about Jesus and then go on our way. We are called to leave an imprint in the minds and souls of all we encounter that shows that we are Catholic. When we vote, we must vote as Catholics. When we speak, we must speak as Catholics. When we think, we must think as Catholics.
I’ve recently uploaded some episodes of a Defending Life audio series to the Quad-Parish YouTube and Facebook. In these episodes, I explain that all lives are equal because their souls have been intentionally created by the Father. If one life were lesser than another, could anyone claim that life is at all a gift from God? If a minute-old embryo is lesser than a police officer is lesser than an immigrant is lesser than a blue-collar worker is lesser than a person with special needs, is Our Lord truly a God of love?
My friends, the Lord is still calling us to remember that, no matter where we go, we know where we came from. Let us not ignore the impoverished, for when we were children we too were without money. Let us never belittle the elderly, for we too were once as frail as these. Let us resist speaking with a bitter tongue, for we too know the bite of a malicious word. Let us never ignore the silent cries of the unborn by focusing on issues that we deem to be more urgent, for we too were once reliant on our mothers’ incomparable love.
I implore all men and women to live by the wisdom of Christ Jesus in today’s Gospel. In all that we do, say, or think, we must love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And in all that we do, say, or think, we must love our neighbors as ourselves.
Blessings, Joseph Walkowski