Jesus, in today’s gospel, looks into the inner person. Jesus does not see the outside, clothing, status, riches or poverty, or place in the community, but looks inside, to the Spirit of God within that person. Jesus did not see a synagogue official with high standing in the community, but the sorrow and grief of a loving father desperate to save his daughter.
Jesus did not see a woman on the margins of society, made unclean by her flow of blood, but the faith of a woman with an incurable disease, who desperately wants to be healed. Jesus saw and heard their sorrow, their faith, the desperation of each person and responded. Jesus took no notice of their standing in the community or on the margins. He connected with the Spirit of God present in each person and acted to heal, to transform, and bring to wholeness.
It is what we are called to do – see the Spirit of God within each person and connect with that Spirit, that person. As Beatrice Bruteau says: “Encouraged to recognize their own incomparable value as person, people wake up to their dignity, realize respect for themselves and expect to receive respect from others.”
The sins of domination, racism, oppression, greed do not connect with the Spirit within each person. Instead, these sins look at the outside – color of skin, can I dominate everyone else, what can I get from this person that will make me richer, if I put people down that puts me up. Wars, lack of communication, failure to negotiate, the gap between rich and poor, are exacerbated when we do not acknowledge or connect with the Spirit in each person.
I was listening to a talk, Call to Transformative Love in Religious Life: Race, Place and Grace, by Sr. Addie Lorraine Walker, an African American Sister. She said, “Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see? Do you see me?” Sometimes we see and hear only from our own experience and not through the eyes and ears of others, their culture, language and experiences. We need to get to know them through listening and sharing. Then we can more easily connect to the Spirit within them and they to the Spirit within us. It is a continual growing and learning.
Jesus continually grew in his ability to connect to the Spirit of a person, even when others did not reciprocate. It is why he could withstand his Passion with non-violence, be forgiving, and still connect to the Spirit of God in his tormentors and executioners.
We are asked to continually grow in connecting Spirit to Spirit. As the Hawaiian grandmother said, “entertain the Spirit of God within the person.”
So let us follow Jesus, listen deeply to each other, begin to hear what they hear, see what they see, respect each other’s dignity as a daughter or son of God. In that way we live the truth. As Wisdom, in our first reading, says, “God formed humans to be imperishable; In the image of God’s own nature, God made us.” Let us live that Wisdom.
Anne Wilson Schaef, NATIVE WISDOM FOR WHITE MINDS. Ballantine books, New York. 1995. Page of June 4.
Beatrice Bruteau. THE HOLY THURSDAY REVOLUTION. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York. 2005. Page 146.