The Apostles had begun to understand that God’s vision of life and salvation was bigger, more inclusive, forgiving, and loving than they had dared to imagine.
An awful recent news story excoriated a Tennessee woman for sending her son, with just a note and a one way plane ticket, back to Russia from where she had adopted him. She accused the orphanage of lying to her about the boy’s mental health. Her accusation may have been justified, but surely her “solution” to the difficult situation could not be. At the same time, my heart goes out to this woman in addition to the boy. What was going on in her life that led her to think sending a boy alone on a plane could solve anything? Was she truly so desperate with insufficient support from family, friends, community, and social services? Was she herself ill in some way? What system and individuals facilitated this adoption with such inadequate preparation and safeguards for mother and child?
I mention this story because at first glance, I find it easy to condemn the mother who so obviously did something terribly wrong. But I think my “first glance” is usually more similar to the vision of the Apostles than the bigger, more forgiving, more inclusive vision of God. I don’t know all the details of the lives of this Tennessee woman or this Russian boy. But I do know that there’s always more to the story than what I read in the paper.
Jesus said at the end of today’s Gospel reading, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” May God grant more abundant life to everyone involved in this tragic story and all of us who are seeking to see with God’s bold vision of love, inclusivity, and forgiveness. Amen.
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