The first reading today reveals to us one of the underlining characters of God; a God who is rich in mercy and compassion. This reading challenges us to look at ourselves and see our own history so as to understand more the plights of the weak and the most vulnerable in our human family.
Maya Angelou in her poem entitled “Human Family” wrote: “I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. . . The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white. . . I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike”. . . (From the book: “I Shall Not Be Moved, Random House,” Inc., New York: 1990).
In the world today many look at people and could only see the differences in terms of the race, colour, sex and language, but cared less about the very essence of what it means to be a human person which we all share in common. We fail to see and be moved by the fact that all of us need shelter, food and peace. This altitude has led to the circle of oppression and inhuman treatment against the poor and the downtrodden in our world today. Instead of defending the weak in our society we now exploit them and sometimes reduce them to nothing or something less human. I think that the situation that God saw during the time of the Israelites of old is the same in our time if not much more. Just like God said to the Israelites through Moses in Ex.22:20-26: “You must not molest the stranger or oppress him/her, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow or with the orphan...;” God is calling on us as a Church and as a people to re-examine the way we treat the people around us.
The truth is that we cannot show compassion if we do not love. Love is that unseen force that propels us to open the doors of our heart to welcome strangers and the disadvantaged in our community. No wonder Jesus in the gospel summarised the whole law as love of God and love of our fellow human being. We are called to love not to discriminate against or exploit the weak where ever they may be.