Thought for the week

Does a Jew not Bleed?

One sunny June day in 1904, according to James Joyce’s Ulysees (that useless book: as the Dublin woman remarked) ‘a one legged sailor swinging himself along by lazy jerks of crutches held out a peaked cap for alms towards the Very Reverend John Conmee S.J.  Fr Conmee blessed him….’  He was a busy Jesuit with things on his mind, people to see in Artane and silver in his purse. 

  I’m sure if Joyce were alive today, the many from Eastern Europe who beg on our streets and at the front door of our churches would make their way into that inspired writer’s work.

   If we are as nimble-footed as the Jesuit we too will give the beggar a wide berth. And we can be self-righteous about our refusal to recognise the abject condition of another human being. ‘Sure that’s all a scam’ the urban myth goes, ‘aren’t they all being brought in cars and dropped outside the gate. You’re only encouraging more to come around the place.’ Sounds like good advice!

   Advice that I followed, but not anymore. I don’t believe Jesus set conditions to our giving to the beggar: the seemingly reckless giving of the poor widow in today’s gospel showed that. Yes, giving is the heart’s response to the lost soul, who is every bit as human as you or I. Listen to what Shakespeare has to say (in a different context):

Does a Jew not bleed/ Is not a Jew hurt by the same weapons/ subject to the same diseases/healed by the same means/warmed and cooled by the same summer and winter as a Christian is?

Fr William