Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let Us Seek The Lord

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul

September 27, 2011

By Beth DeCristofaro

Thus says the LORD of hosts: There shall yet come peoples, the inhabitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall approach those of another, and say, "Come! let us go to implore the favor of the LORD; and, "I too will go to seek the LORD." "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." (Zechariah 8:20-21)

…they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Luke 9:53-56)


Lord, fill my heart with the same generous charity for which St. Vincent de Paul was known. May I always seek you. May those around me see you in my choices, words and actions.


My I-Phone has a feature that allows me to display time zones and weather forecasts from around the world. It’s fun and I often check on Cairo where my daughter lived; Montana, New York City and San Diego where I have family; Florence, Italy because it is my favorite city in the world; Tegucigalpa, Honduras not because anyone lived there but because the tiny village in Honduras where my other daughter lived for a year isn’t recognized by this smart technology. We hear that the world is now a global neighborhood. On my street in Fairfax we have residents from China, Korea, El Salvador, Bolivia, Egypt and yes, even those from New Jersey (exit 117 off the Parkway).

But my view and those of most of us continues to be pretty parochial. I must admit that I am most comfortable with those who are like me. I - We have to get to know “others” before we come to accept and welcome them in any intimate kind of way. And we have to make an effort to accept people when traditions, habits, ways of being, life styles or religions are very different from ours. We have to work at welcoming rather than being threatened by difference.

But not God. God passionately knows, loves and welcomes all of His global creatures. Zechariah speaks of the inhabitants of many cities coming to know God. Zechariah is talking about “others” not the Jews who knew they were the Chosen. Zechariah is talking about the ones left outside the Covenant. Zechariah is talking about those whom the Chosen people suspected as sinners. Zechariah’s words are of a God whose love that is bigger and more inclusive than they comprehended or that the disciples understood. The disciples wished to punish the Samaritan village who rejected Jesus. But Jesus’ love is greater. \


Take opportunities to visit the “other.” The Washington, D.C., region has so many opportunities to attend street festivals, theatre, exhibits, concerts that allow us to step out of our comfortable box. Or attend Mass at a parish with a majority of attendees who are from another race or speak another language. Check out the www.usccb.org website resources on cultural diversity, interreligious dialogue, human dignity and other topics…then get up from the computer and check out the reality of what you’ve just read. Seek the Lord in all that you learn and experience.