Sunday, October 7, 2012
Readings: Genesis 2:18-24 Hebrews 2:9-11 Mark 10:2-16
Today’s reflection comes from ideas suggested on the Franciscan Action Network website (www.franciscanaction.org) (since October 4 is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi.) It points out that today’s first reading recounts one of the two creation stories in Genesis where “it is not good for the man to be alone.” From the beginning it is clear that humans are relational because God is relational-we are hard-wired to seek out community and belonging.
October is Respect Life month. Respect is one of the four core values at St. Mary’s Health System. We are called to honor the dignity of each human person as a reflection of the image of God, especially the most vulnerable (like many of our patients.) Even when someone doesn’t speak the same language. Even when someone returns to the hospital for the same issue for the fifth time. Even when our colleagues frustrate us. Even when we feel dismissed.
Saint Francis of Assisi was a wonderful role model for how to respect all life. “The more St. Francis reached out in solidarity to the poor and marginalized, and to non-human creatures-and allowed himself to be touched and transformed by them-the more Christ-like and authentically human Francis became.” His “Canticle of Creation” offers a recognition of the unity of all creatures based on
companionship and respect. Here’s an excerpt:
CANTICLE OF CREATION
Be praised Good Lord for Brother Sun
who brings us each new day.
Be praised for Sister Moon: white
beauty bright and fair, with wandering
stars she moves through the night.
Be praised my Lord for Brother Wind,
for air and clouds and the skies of every season.
Be praised for Sister Water: humble,
helpful, precious, pure; she cleanses
us in rivers and renews us in rain.
Be praised my Lord for Brother fire:
he purifies and enlightens us.
Be praised my Lord for Mother Earth:
abundant source, all life sustaining;
she feeds us bread and fruit and gives us flowers.
Be praised my Lord for the gift of life;
for changing dusk and dawn; for touch
and scent and song.
Francis of Assisi, 1225 A.D
Saint Francis also had a companion in his ministry, Saint Clare of Assisi. She emphasized a way of living that included radical poverty. Both Francis and Clare challenged the hierarchical systems of their time and promoted a more holistic alternative. They were following Jesus’ example. As preacher David Lose points out, “Jesus’ road takes him beyond the usual boundaries so that he may bring the gospel to all people. We also know that when Jesus gets to Jerusalem, he himself will be dismissed, put away, and taken beyond the boundaries of the city to be hung on a cross in the middle of a garbage heap. All this he endures in order to witness most fully and profoundly to God’s abundant mercy, steadfast love and amazing grace for all people, regardless of their condition.” During this Respect Life month, perhaps we too can witness to a more holistic alternative and extend mercy for all of creation.
Tags: canticle of creation, feast day, francis of assisi, Genesis 2, Gospel, Hebrews, hebrews 2, mark 10, pastoral care, saint francis of assisi, St. Mary's, st. mary's regional medical center, Sunday, sunday reading, Sunday Scribes, twenty-seventh sunday in ordinary time