Who are you looking for?

“Who are you looking for?”

Walking around the streets of New York City and visiting the September 11 Memorial Museum, I felt compelled to attend evening mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In today’s Gospel we hear the story of Mary Magdalene discovering and meeting Jesus in the tomb. The significance of this Gospel story can not be overlooked. Mary Magdalene, a women, a sinner, is the first person to encounter the risen Christ.

As a women, Mary would not have been seen as fully human in the Ancient Roman world. Her status as a women would have been relocated to that of property of some man. Jesus meeting a women first and asking her a question is important. It suggests that the Gospel is open to everyone, even the lowest of the low.

As a sinner, Mary would not have been seen, in the eyes of the faithful, as clean or worthy. Yet here she is with the risen Christ. Jesus meeting with a known sinner suggests that all people, all sins are forgivable that all people are welcome.

“Who are you looking for?”

Christ looks for and calls by name all people. Do Christians do the same? Do Christians welcome all people? Muslims? Jewish? Atheists? Immigrants? Refugees? Transgendered? Gay? Lesbian? Straight? Sinner? Alcoholic? Drug addict? Raciest uncle? Insane aunt? Trump supporters? Hillary voter? Bernie holdout? Do Christians welcome all people? Or unlike Christ, do they exclude others?

“Who are you looking for?”

If you are Christian and looking for Christ, perhaps the people we need to look for are the very people we are trying to exclude.

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