Friday Reflection

2nd October 2020

'an ever-flowing stream...'

24 'But let justice roll down like waters,
   and righteousness
   like an ever-flowing stream'.

Amos 5:24

What is the meaning of justice?
In England, we think that justice
is when the good are rewarded,
and the bad are punished.
But in the Old Testament,
the Hebrew word for justice, 'mishpat',
means that the

neediest in society are cared for.

A just society
takes care of those who are needy.
An unjust society does not,
does not want to take care
of those who are in need.

Let justice, and righteousness,
be constant, like the air we breathe.

Once a newsman stuck a microphone
in the face of Mother Teresa
and asked her,
"Mother, why are you so holy?"

Her answer was wonderful:

"You ask as if holiness were weird,

or abnormal.
To be holy is to be normal.
To be anything else is to be abnormal."
- Like an ever-flowing stream.

There are many stories
about Mother Theresa.
One time she was invited
to a hunger conference in Bombay.
She lost her way,
and arrived late at the appointed place.
On the steps outside,
she noticed a man, dying of hunger.
Instead of going in,
she took him, and fed him.

Inside, they were talking about
so much food supply in so many years,
statistics here, statistics there --
while a real person was dying
on the steps outside.

Mother Teresa identified a need and acted.
That's how we should do it
one at a time,
not just talking,
but feeding, touching.

There was a great moment
when a wealthy woman from America
found Mother Teresa,
whipped out her checkbook, and said,

"I want to write you a check

to support your work."
Mother Teresa looked up,
shook her head and said "No money."
"No money"
"You won't take my money?
I have a lot of money,
this money can help you."
"No money."
"No money! Well then, what can I do?"

Mother Teresa smiled
that inimitable smile,
took her by the hand, and said,
"Come and see."
She led this woman
deep into the barrios (slums)
of Calcutta, searching,
until finally she came upon a small,
grimy child.

Mother Teresa said,
"Take care of her."
and so the woman took a cloth,
and bathed the little girl,
took a spoon and fed her -
and took her home.
The woman reported later
that her life was changed.

Come and see - touch someone.
When Mother Teresa
first came to the United States,
she made a great speech in New York
in which she said,

"You don't have to go to Calcutta

to share in my work.
Calcutta is wherever you are.
Wherever you are,
there are people who hurt,
who need love.
Find them. Love them.
For in loving them,
you love Jesus."

Maybe this is the answer
to a generation of skeptics
for whom Christianity
seems like so much nonsense.
They need to see faith in action,
in the flesh, taking on legs.

As G.K. Chesterton put it,
'The problem is not that Christianity
had been tried and found wanting.
The problem is,
it has hardly ever been tried.'
We have to try.

In the words of another Teresa,
Teresa of Avila,
from the l6th century:

"Christ has no body now
on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes
through which the compassion
of Christ looks out
on a hurting world.
Yours are the feet
with which he is
to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands
with which he is to bless now."