How do we know day from night?
One day a rabbi asked his students, “How can you tell that night has ended and day is dawning?” One student suggested, “When you can see clearly that an animal in the distance is a lion and not a dog.” “No” replied the Rabbi.
Another said, “When you can tell that a tree bears lemons and not peaches?’ “No” said the Rabbi. “It is when you can look on the face of another person and see that woman or man is your sister or brother. Until you can do so, no matter what time of day it is, you’re always in night.”
The Rabbi’s question is a good one for anyone traveling on their life’s journey. If we see those traveling with us as rivals challenging our entry into God’s home, it will always be night. Even though we know God welcomes everyone and has abundant room for everyone, we remain stuck in blinding darkness. But seeing everyone through the prism of Jesus, we see not what divides, but what unites.
Jesus, our redeemer and messiah sees everyone in the image of his Father and as his brother or sister. And when he does, faith clearly removes differences. For example, Jesus met a gentile woman, a Syrophoenician by race, who passionately wanted Jesus to cast the demon from her daughter. At first Jesus refused saying “Let the children first be filled: for it is not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs” (Mark 7).
However, with remarkable insight and persistence, she responded with faith and humility, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs under the table, eat of the children’s crumbs.” Overwhelmed with compassion Jesus responded, “For this saying go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” Jesus cherishes faithfulness. This overwhelming belief caused Jesus to add: “O woman, great is your faith!” Jesus wanted all hearing that faith in him surpasses all else. So great was the gentile’s woman faith her daughter was cured.
Jesus is verifying the Rabbi’s claim. Seeing Jesus in faith as a brother, she saw what our creator wants us all to see. No matter where we hail from, we are all God’s masterpieces. If we do not see this, we are living in a constant nightfall.
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Blessings, Fr. De Lillio.