Saturday, August 29, 2009


I invited the new (we had none) rabbi in Pearland to coffee to hear his story and offer my assistance in any way that might prove helpful. Having come from Brooklyn, I knew he was experiencing some culture shock. We had a good talk. And he left me with a gift. A true story from his tradition.


It seems that an older, wise rabbi was much sought after for his sage advice and mere presence. Even at his age, he made himself present on every Sunday afternoon after lunch and often went till the early evening. He stood all those hours in a room and received the host of pilgrims who often would wait hours for a short audience.


A woman, herself advanced in years, approached the good rabbi. She was hot and tired. "Rabbi,"" she said, "How do you do it? Stay on your feet for so long. I have done it for an hour and a half and am exhausted."


The rabbi answered, "I see each person as a diamond, a jewel. A person of great value. And who doesn't like spending time involved with the priceless?"


Obviously, I see Jesus in this. My Baptismal Vows encourage me to "respect the dignity of every human" and to "seek and serve Christ" in everyone.


Underneath it all, I do think the Way of Christ is the truest expression of God. But I also see how much the great religions of the world have in common. The rabbi in the story could have been Jesus, or Peter or Paul or St. Francis.


I am conditioned by the world to magnify differences at the expense of the common. I think Jesus would be more inclined to magnify commonalities at the expense of the differences.


What are all the things you have in common with the people you will meet today? Don't think of a difference until you have exhausted the commonalities.

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