At the same time I have been struggling, particularly since the attack by the Syrian government with chemical weapons on its own people, seeing the video of the traumatized and injured children, and adults, with the emotions which I had to come to grips with on 9/11, recalling my visit sometime after the event to ground zero to spend time in prayer for an end to all hatreds and violence on earth.
But I admit my Italian emotions run hot and it is a battle and I have been begging Jesus to ‘give me eyes to see, heart ears to hear’ when suddenly early in the morning came through the open window of the hermitage a cry from a man, one of the countless homeless-dumpster divers in the area.
“Help man, please, help! My buddy is injured and stuck in a dumpster.”
Immediately I went to the window and assured him I would come with him and see what could be done.
Down the rain soaked alley we went until we came to the dumpster he said his friend was trapped inside.
I looked inside and there was a beaten and bloodied man, curled up like a little child.
I could sense in the depth of my heart, in the marrow of my bones the pain and desolation, the sense of not being a somebody in the eyes of the rest of us.
At my age trying to get the injured man out of such a deep place even with the help of his friend was impossible, plus given his injuries clearly medical help was needed and so I called 911 and within short order the ambulance came, and the paramedics not only showing professional care by speaking with and treating the injured man with respect, speaking with him real person to real person, got him out and took him to the hospital.
As I turned to walk away his buddy said: “Thank-you man. God bless you.”
In truth when I first looked into the bin and saw the man curled up I was surprised I was aware of Jesus in the manger, in the garden, in the tomb.
These two days since I have been trying to understand something about Syria and all places of violence and hatred, human-on-human and clearly it seems to me the great evil in much of the world, in many hearts, is our refusal, [ though for we the baptized a salient and necessary never to forget truth IS everyone I meet is an encounter with Jesus], to see every human being as one like myself, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood.
The 1,000,000 child refugees from Syria, the millions of men and women refugees are not merely other human beings. For we the baptized every child IS my son and my daughter, every adult IS my brother and my sister.
There is ONLY one human race.
Yes we need the police and the military to intervene locally/globally when such immense evil unfolds against our brothers and sisters as is happening in Syria or on our own streets.
But if I can blithely walk past Jesus in a dumpster or an alley, or in any way disparage, reject, hate any human being then I am a participant in the evil which stalks the earth with so much darkness and violence; if I fail to defend the unborn child, to care for the elderly and vulnerable, then I am part of the global dehumanizing of the earth.
How grateful I am I met Jesus in the dumpster because I know now I must pray intently that any and all garbage in my heart of thought, word, attitude which denotes difference from others needs be carted away, far away, like all garbage; that my heart and soul need to be so cleansed that I see as Jesus sees, love as He loves.