Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Deuteronomy 10:12-22; Matthew 17:22-27)
Once I traveled from Calcutta in eastern India to the Punjab in the west. Having purchased my train ticket beforehand, I went to the train station with confidence. All I had to do was to board the train. But that was easier said than done. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure, the station went wild. People rushed in every direction. I could not find my coach but foolishly refused the request of porters to help me. A young man noticed my vulnerability and came to my aid. He took my bag and found my coach and seat. He did not ask for anything in return. He probably did not realize that he was carrying out the precept in today’s first reading. He befriended an alien.
Scripture has a universal vision. People are not to so clannishly or nationalistically that they turn their backs to others. They are to help one another as they share a common origin in God. Obligations to family and to nation exist, but these should not curtail friendship with others.
We live in a time of people on the move. There are certainly more tourists and probably pilgrims than ever before. The numbers of immigrants and refugees also keep growing. Material benefits are regularly derived from this vast movement of humankind. Spiritual benefits are to be reaped as well when we make an effort to assist strangers.