Ordinary Time 06, Year B

Let us then go to him outside the camp (Heb. 13:13)

Home sweet home! I am home once again, back from almost a four-week stay in the Philippines. I am very delighted to be back home.

Returning to the U.S., I left behind newscasters telling very bad news about a stampede that occurred the morning of the day of our departure and which killed 74 persons [1].

In my own house, of course, I have no problem feeling at home and making myself comfortable. I also feel safer at home, protected from the dangers lurking out there and isolated from all outside disturbance. It's not surprising, then, that I prefer to behave like the snails in St. Vincent's Dec. 6, 1658 conference, which withdraw quickly to their shells no sooner than they have gone out of them to check something outside.

Staying home, I am exposed neither to contagious diseases nor to fetid and pernicious air.

Enclosed within the four walls of the house, I feel myself to be as firm as a rock in the middle of an immense ocean and as unreachable as a far-flung island in the far-away South Pacific. And "the rock," according a Simon and Garfunkel song, "feels no pain, and an island never cries."

So then, safe, sound, secure, happy and pleased at home, I become incapable of taking notice of the dangers of an imminent pollution and of issuing a warning, incapable of pleasing anybody, since I seek my own benefit only, incapable of being an imitator of St. Paul, as he was of Christ. Disabled thus, I do not hear the pleadings of those in need nor am I moved with pity.

Upon leaving home, Jesus heard and took pity, and on account of this he had to remain outside even more in deserted places, as though these became his home where people came to him from everywhere.