Down through the centuries wars have been fought, nations destroyed, and societies pulled apart in efforts to protect social boundaries that delineate who are part of the clan -- who are the insiders and who are the outsiders. Slavery would be a perfect example of a social construct that delineated between peoples and that destroyed individual human lives, families and entire nations! All based on social constructs of what made a human life matter and be of value.
Today’s readings call on us to reflect on our own social constructs...who we treat as insiders and who we treat as outsiders...whose lives we believe matter and whose lives we believe don’t matter! And whose lives matter more than others! How do we look upon refugees and immigrants to our country and upon the tens of millions of refugees roaming the world in search of a safe home? Do we see them as sister and brother or as alien and foreigner, outsiders who don’t belong.
What scripture makes clear is that we are called by God to work to eradicate all social structures and attitudes that exclude and marginalize “the other”.
In today’s Gospel we see a shocking moment where Jesus is challenged by a Canaanite woman to “revision his mission, and to open it up and expand his mission” and to proclaim the Reign of God goes beyond just to the People of Israel and that it includes absolutely everyone!
Because human being is a child of God and, yes, even the Canaanites are included! There is no place for racism or bigotry or xenophobia or misogyny in the Reign of God because we are all God’s children. And racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny are all sins against God’s children and against the Reign of God!
Everyone is invited, and as St. Paul reminds us, “the gifts and the call are irrevocable”! The Word has gone out...all are invited to be part of the Reign of God...and the Word of God once spoken cannot be called back!
I believe that all of us who call ourselves Christians and disciples of Christ are called to reflect on all of this in light of the racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and outright hatred displayed in the violence in what we saw in Charlottesville and the violence we continue to see today against our Black and Brown sisters and brothers, even perpetrated by our very own local, state and national government officials. As well as the rise in the overt hatred and violence aimed at our LGBTQ sisters and brothers.
We have to ask ourselves: who are the people in my clan and are there people I exclude? How could I be more inclusive of “the other” in my life? And what socio-political and religious structures does the Gospel call me to work to change to be more inclusive so that no one is left out and all people feel loved, seen, respected, and embraced -- just as Jesus calls us to treat them?