Today is the Anniversary of 911. I want to share this story with you.
Here I am aboard an American Airlines flight from Richmond, VA headed to Tulsa, OK by way of Dallas, TX. I am really looking forward to getting back on home ground. I really enjoyed being in Richmond but friends and church await me in Tulsa, not to mention my four legged equine friends. One thing I did not expect on this flight was for me to withness the Catholic teachings of the “Just Faith” program I had attend at a local church.
As I waited for take off, I noticed an elder gentleman of maybe Indian/Muslim decent being assisted in boarding our plane. He slowly moved forward and took the seat across the aisle from me. It was hard not to notice this distinguishing looking man. His turbin gave way to a tan face with a long pepper gray beard. His intense but kind eyes seemed to be taking everything in as he took his seat. He was very well dressed in white with a black vest to match his turbin. I glanced his way several times as we were taking off; his eyes were closed and lips moving as if he were in prayer.
As soon as the seat belt sign went off, he got up and walked to the rear of the plane. The lady next to me turned and watched him. I knew what she was thinking. I am ashame to say, the thought had crossed my mind as well; “Where we going to arrive in Dallas in one piece?”
I thought about the lessons of injustice my class had been studying. I wondered how many times people have had that same thought cross their minds in his presence? This fellow Child of God – because of 911 – how much indifferences has he had to deal with – how many stares, how much injustice and discrimination?
He sits silently in his seat now; his eyes closed. His shoulders bend slightly forward as if bearing an invisable weight. His head rests in hands that tell a story of much wear. What things does he ponder or is he in prayer? I wonder……….
I too sit quitly reflecting upon this lesson of unjust judgement that My Lord has chosen to teach. My thoughts slowly become compassion. A prayer for my neighbor takes over as I ask that his journey be one with no ill feelings exchanged to or from people he encounters along his way. I ask that any burdens he carries be lighten.
I prayed that he would reach his destitation refreshed so he could accomplish his goals whatever they maybe. And yet, as an after thought – I hope his intentions are good; is that not a form of discrimination still trying to raise its ugly head? Lord, help me to follow your example. Let me too tell Satun, get behind me and dare not temp me with his whispers of evil.
Give us the grace to look at “all your people” as Your Children. Lord, for ones that appear to be less favorable in our eyes - let us see those people through Your eyes and learn to love them even more. Let us realize that unless we walk in someones shoes we do not know what they are really going through; ” Judge Not Least You Be Judged”, why is this easy for us to say but hard for us to live by? You, my Lord, are the only one who really knows what path our neighbor has walked. Lord, help us to realize that not just some and not just the ones we choose, but ALL are our Neighbors as taught by your second commandment.
Lord, you said to ask and it shall be received; knock and the door shall be open. So Lord, I ask - help us all to work in the right way for justice, truth and freedom for the rights of all our fellow man. I knock with compassion on the door of your teachings. Guide our actions and the work of our hands; let each movement be given with love and received as a sign of hope and peace. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.