Every week in the Raleigh News & Observer there is a column called “The God Squad” which is written by a rabbi named Marc Gellman. He used to co-author the column with a Catholic priest, until the priest died a few years ago. It’s always worth reading and reminds us as well that, as Christians, we share a common tradition with our Jewish neighbors. In a column from a few weeks ago, Rabbi Gellman told this story from his own tradition and the story highlights our shared understanding that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. The story goes this way:
“A rabbi was once walking with his disciples when he stopped short and pointed to a man walking across the street. ‘Who is that?’ he asked his disciples. They looked and replied, ‘Oh that is nobody rabbi. That is just Moshele the water drawer. That is nobody.’ The rabbi turned to them and said ‘None of you can be my students until you say about any person you see, ‘There goes the image of God walking down the street.’” A simple, beautiful story which illustrates something foundational about our faith and that flows over into our understanding as Catholics of the “seamless garment” of human life, that all life, from those in the womb until death, matters. “Seamless garment” was a term used by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago. He wanted people to understand that “pro-life” carries over into all aspects of human life, and that we are called to care for the unborn, for those who live in poverty, for those who lack health care, for those who are migrants, for prisoners, for the poor, the elderly, anyplace where life might be seen as fragile or diminished. It’s straight out of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25. In my time here at St. Francis, I have seen that lived out in many ways.
Blessings on your week!