November 13: Thursday of Week 32 of Ordinary Time, Year A-II:
Philemon 1:7-20; Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; Luke 17:20-25
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.
What is Jesus saying to us as stewards of his kingship?
(To support Reaching Jesus: 5 Steps to a Fuller Life ... Step Five )
Trash Removal or Love
“The Lord sets captives free” (Psalm 146:7).
Paul had no civil authority to free the runaway slave Onesimus. But he furthered the reign of God the best he could by urging his master to treat him as the equal he had become through Baptism: “no longer as a slave but… a brother.”
A modern equivalent to slaves are convicts. Pope Francis told delegates from the International Association of Penal Law that the death penalty, life imprisonment and the existing prison system are incompatible with our faith and a violation of the reign of God:
“All Christians and people of good will are called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty.”
He added, “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty” (Catholic News Service, October 23, 2014).
How does our desire for revenge and security weigh against our belief in repentance and hope for another’s salvation? To kill a prodigal child of God is like abortion: we cut off a future. Destroying fear and selfishness prevail over nurturing hope and love.
To imprison and “throw away the key” is also to throw away faith, hope and love. It makes rehabilitation pointless. Why fix what will never get to function?
Our prisons are trash removal, not human care. We sin by paying for restraint, not rehabilitation.
PRAY: “The Lord sets captives free.”
PRACTICE: Visit a prison.