“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs
under the table eat the family’s leavings.”
From Mark 7:24-30
I grew up in an Irish and Italian neighborhood. Since only the tiniest drop of these bloodlines flows through me, I had no preference for either group. The truth is that I envied them both, especially on St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Days when my Irish and Italian friends celebrated their heritage with great flourish. For the most part, I am French Canadian, and there was no designated day for me to do the same. Though my family celebrated rich traditions which are the direct result of my nationality, as a child, I longed for a more colorful and universal display of our heritage.
This childhood disappointment evolved into a lifetime of effort to overlook ethnicity and the numerous other differences that often separate us. Perhaps it was providential that I spent my career working with children. My classroom provided the perfect forum in which to honor both our personal uniqueness and our common qualities. Though I left my classroom behind long ago, I find that the lessons I learned there regarding God’s Open Door Policy” are more important than ever.
Welcoming God, at work, in the neighborhood and even at church, we manage to separate ourselves into differing factions. Help me and all of my sisters and brothers to welcome one another into the moments of our lives as You welcome us.
©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved