1 Kings 11:4-13
Most of our lives see us coming up against choices, decisions, etc and then a process of coming to our senses. Coming to our senses is a fallback position to our values and principles as enshrined through our faith and life traditions. It is not a mere following but a metanoia to ‘change’, to come to our senses and walk in a new direction.
This theme is evident in our readings today and in the life of the saint of the Day, Jerome of Emiliani. (1486-1537). Jerome was an orphan at 15 and ran away and ended up in prison. It was through this experience he came to his senses, and after he escaped, he returned home to educate his nephews and began his studies for the priesthood. A plague swept through northern Italy, and this experience changed his heart and attitude; where he dedicated himself to caring for the sick and feeding the hungry. This change led him to found a congregation and dedicate himself and his community to the care of orphans, to which he is now the patron of orphans and abandoned children.
The gospel sees Jesus in Tyre and trying to avoid the crowds, but an outsider approaches him, and we get a glimpse of how Jesus could have seen his ministry to the Jews. But he encounters this brave woman who, out of care and concern for her daughter, falls at his feet. Jesus is taken back and sees her faith he responds to it by curing her daughter. It gives us an insight into Jesus’ awareness and openness to come to his senses and see God’s call of bringing all things to Himself. The disciples show a natural tendency to avoid embarrassment. The demonstration of unconditional love means all that ‘outsiders’ are welcome to enter the kingdom…. Jesus responds with love, kindness, honesty, and compassion.
May we see that our tradition calls us to reach out from safety and be people who are changed through a process of ‘coming to our senses’. May we see that God is with us, and each day, we are called to be compassionate, forgiving, and open to those in need. Many in our world have been abandoned, and there is much work to do to bring healing and hope and meet the practical day-to-day needs – food, clothing, shelter, and to live as an example of the compassionate Christ. “In so much as you did this to one of these little ones, you did it to me” ( Matt 25)
Paul Traynor is married to Clare and has two children Sam and Lucy. He lives in Greytown which is in the Wairarapa Region on the North Island of New Zealand. Paul is currently working as the National Passionist Family Groups Coordinator for Aotearoa, New Zealand.