“To pray, to listen to the voice of the one who calls us ‘The Beloved’, is to learn that that voice excludes no one.” ~ Henri Nouwen
One of the things that annoyed the disciples was Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom of God was for all. They had the belief that the Messiah was going to come just for a particular group of people and they didn’t like to think that others, even their enemies, were under God’s loving care and protection. Even worse for many of them, Jesus indicated that they needed to reach out to those others and care for them.
Why would they want to do that? Weren’t they enemies? Weren’t they outcasts? Weren’t they poor and downtrodden and, therefore, under some kind of almighty penalty? They couldn’t see themselves interacting with those kinds of people.
Jesus wasn’t telling stories. He meant what He said. The Kingdom of God IS for everyone. The disciples back then needed to understand that and get on board with the idea. So do we. Jesus’ message wasn’t just meant for a certain group of people nearly 2,000 years ago. The message is still valid today and we need to understand that the people that we ostracize belong to God and that we have a responsibility to them.
There should be no reason for us to exclude others. There should be no reason that we would not help others. Nothing makes us more special than other people. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to live as the kind of people Jesus calls us to be.
FAITH ACTION: To whatever extent possible, exclude no one today.