Don’t Forget to Thank God! Let’s meet people where they are! not where we Believe they ought to be.

Be thankful, just as this foreigner was, God is indeed blessing
The moment we open our eyes in the morning it is God blessing us.  When we take a breath and stretch out our arms God is blessing us.  As we rise from our bed we fail to recognize it’s a blessings.  We start to think about what we’re going to do today all of this is God’s blessing.   God is in the constant stage and position of blessing us.  We are to busy thinking about what we got to get done today we fail to thank him.  As we finally get out the house having kissed the kidsAnd the wife  jumped into our Cadillac and start to drive to work you’ve forgotten to give God praise and thanks for his goodness.
There are those who just can’t see that all that they are and have comes from God and God has blessed them. From their very life it’s self to the ability to share, interact and co-create with God.  I say that simply to say that we use God’s creation and we use the talents God has given us and we interact with the created world and produce from it.   All of this is God’s blessing.
Take a moment and count God’s blessings today.  We will very quickly find ourselves moving from complainers to thankers! Namely persons who make their very lives a living gift of thanksgiving for all God’s done for them.
The context for our reflection are two accounts of lepers, a rich and powerful leper and a group of poor lepers.  What is striking is that their lepercy places them equally in an unclean state.   
They are Considered unclean and outside of God’s grace and blessing.  Both Nathan and the ten leper’s are given an instruction, Nathan washes in Jordan and is healed, the 10 Leper’s in the Gospel are told to go show themselves to the priest and they too are healed.  What is striking is that those least expected, namely the two foreigners return and give Thanks.   Their lives are transformed moved to faith.
We are called to two things this morning the first give thanks for all God is constantly doing in our lives each moment.  The second is to step into the lives of the suffering and the sick, from the drug addict to the drug dealer, they need Jesus love, to the sick living with HIV/AIDS, to the immigrant who has no where to turn.

When we speak this truth that we are called to receive and love everyone, what happens? Immediately after Mass someone approaches me and says they are “Mad” at me. I asked what did I do now, she responded, “I’m mad because you are going start saying Mass in Spanish.”
Here is the perfect example of the unwelcoming, an immigrant themselves, demanding a certain level and not receiving people where they are. We as church must receive and respect immigrants even if they don’t speak English. We don’t set a certain expectation to those on the peripheries, “meet me where I say you must then we welcome you.” This nation is enriched with many cultures and languages, and the statement that “they should speak English” is a mentality that says, “You have to meet the standard or your not welcome.” No! we will welcome all. Offer whatever languages are needed so that people can feel comfortable and welcome in their worship. As a pastor I will do whatever I have to extend a welcome to whomever comes to our doors. No matter their language, color, background our way of life.

To the person homeless who has no food or clean clothing. We can be instruments of God’s blessing.  We must not be afraid to walk with the suffering, “smell like our sheep” No one is to be left alone unclean, unwanted and considered an abomination and left there.   The call to get down and serve, love, include people as they are where they are.  To meet them on the peripheries, to walk along side them in the margins and shadows of life.  Let’s meet all where they are and love them, and allow the power and love tof The Holy Spirit to be the transforming power over their lives.
We need to move from being encyclopedias of faith and morals to being the hands and feet of God’s love and mercy,   That isn’t to say we through out our faith and morals.  They actually guide us in reaching out to others, but we don’t use them to judge and condemn.  We begin by sharing God’s love and mercy, then the Holy Spirit can open hearts to the truth of the Gospel and the Truth of our Catholic faith and teaching then we see the true transformation of lives on God’s terms in God’s time.

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