All Are Welcome (Twentieth Ordinary)

Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy”. Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel”. Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me. Jesus gave in. “Oh woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then  her daughter became well. (Matthew 15: 23 – 25, 28)

My father told me the story about his being an immigrant teenager desperately looking for work with his two brothers. Employment office after employment office had signs that said, “Italians need not apply” or “No Italians wanted”. To find work, they had to go inland and take the dangerous job of working in the coal mines, work that nobody else wanted.

Perhaps that is why when he opened his grocery store, he was tolerant of all who wanted to work for him or shop there. He always said that the money people spend was green, not black or white or brown. He was pragmatic, if anything.

So, too, the church is welcoming, or should be, of all who choose to believe its message. Paul makes that clear as be brought the Gentiles into the church. Isaiah states that God’s house “is called a house  of prayer for all people”. So we gather, all of us, with our differences, but united in one faith and ask for God’s help in all that we do. It is that faith and our need for God’s help that joins us together. All are wanted and welcome.

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