For the Respect Life month, we pray for life from womb to tomb. This weekend we celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day: we celebrate life with our ability and disAbilities, our strength and weakness. Inclusion Awareness Sunday is an opportunity to reflect how we include everyone by looking at our abilities, rather than looking at disAbilities. How do we celebrate our differences?
Father Henri Nouwen laid the spiritual foundation for the Pathways Awareness Open Hearts, Open Minds movement with his keynote address "The Vulnerable Journey" at the 1996 Pathways Awareness Inclusion in Worship Conference. He remarked that "I was always studying about God and teaching about God to all these bright students. I wanted to be smarter than others. I wanted to show them that I could be "with it". And I suddenly realized that it is not in strength and power that God was coming to me, but in weakness."
God is the power of inclusion. He opened his arms and heart on the cross to embrace everyone. So Jesus invites us to open our hearts, minds and doors for people with all abilities and differences. Change needs to start in our mind and heart. Are we ready to accept the differences at least in our mentality? It is not an easy task…let us meditate on the depth of the word “Inclusion” and let us connect with our faith.
This weekend's readings put in front of us a question; “What are the most important things in our life?” The first reading, Solomon, was a model for Christian disciples, who prayed for wisdom above every other thing. Solomon was not born with great wisdom; rather it was given to him by God. In the 1 King 3:9 “Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. For who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?” And God told him that “I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you” (1 King 3:12). Wisdom is an eager desire to do God’s will and give him glory.
In the Gospel we read the account of the rich young man, and the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom. Jesus reaffirms the need of keeping the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17). The young man claimed he was keeping the Commandments from his youth. Then Jesus invites him to go further, “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Jesus taught that a wholehearted spirit of poverty is necessary to be a true follower of him. Jesus told the young man to detach from the possessions and stay close to Jesus. We read that he went away sorrowful. St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “Our hearts are restless, Lord, until we rest in you.” The true happiness is coming from God. Solomon, in the first reading, states that he considers wisdom from God more than anything else.
Jesus uses the analogy of the camel and eye of a needle, an impossible situation. Those days there was a low and narrow gate for pedestrians to go after hours which was called eye of the needle. In those days camels were the largest animal for them and it was impossible for camels to go through. Jesus told them it is impossible with all the attachment. Everything is possible when we detach from everything and stay closer to God. What are the challenges we face in order to follow him closely?
In the month of October, Pope Francis invites us to pray for all missionary disciples. Let us pray for all of us that we may walk close to Jesus and evangelize and make his name known and loved in our daily life.