Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students
January 18th, 2014
Bio| Email: HaleyWarren@creighton.edu
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus breaks bread with tax collectors and sinners. Unlike most of the people in his society, Jesus accepted the outcasts of society in order to show them the grace, forgiveness, and love that they were normally denied.
In liberation theology (supported by Vatican II), this type of scene can be explained with a concept called a “preferential option for the poor.” Christ’s preferential option for poor and marginalized people is witnessed throughout the gospels. Christ continuously invited these people in because they are the ones who society refused to love. They are the ones that did not receive God’s love through others, and thus he showed them God’s love through himself.
Some people misunderstand an option for the poor by questioning why Christ favored the sinner over those who were righteous (which means morally straight). Through misunderstanding, they think that since Christ spent more time and energy with them, he loved them more. This is not the case. One of my teachers once gave me a very eloquent explanation of an option for the poor: Imagine a situation in which a set of parents has 3 children and one of them has a learning disability. Because of the challenges that the child has in school, the parents spend more time helping that child with his homework. The parents don’t do this because they love that child more, but rather because that child is the only one who needs homework help. The parents love all the children the same.
In a similar way, Christ loves all of us but chose to spend his time with the people who felt the most unloved, the people who needed him the most.
I believe that we should try to follow Christ’s example of an option for the poor. Someone can be poor materially or spiritually. Therefore even though we should befriend, and enjoy, life-giving relationships with righteous people, we should also go out of our way to try and invite in those people who are poor, especially those who are poor in spirit. It is these people who need guidance in feeling love and acceptance so that they may come closer to the Kingdom of God.
So as we are all on our own journey to enlightenment, to eternal peace and joy, may we share the love and grace that we have encountered with those around us; that we might all, not just the righteous, eventually find heaven on earth.
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