What is a life worth? In recent weeks we have been reminded that all lives are not equally valued. The killings in Ferguson, MO, Cleveland, OH, and Staten Island, NY, among many, many others give the impression that the lives of dark skinned people are not valued to the same degree as white people in this country. In addition, day after day, in countless settings, it is clear that the life of a person of low income is not valued as much as the life of a person of greater means. This can be seen in health care, in business, in law enforcement, in social service, and in the government.
In these December weeks we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The story tells us that he was born in a stable to parents of low income and low status. Jesus was dark skinned. He was poor. He was lower class. He was from a small, rural village, not a center of power. He was part of a barely tolerated minority on the fringe of the Roman Empire. Jesus was not mainstream by any means. He wasn’t even middle class.
In today’s world, we might think of Jesus’ socio economic status as comparable to a welfare baby. Or a homeless person. Or an illegal immigrant. If Jesus were born today, would we even notice?
For reflection: Can you think of ways that you have benefitted from the circumstances of your birth? The economic, racial, social, or gender privileges that you have received simply as a accident of who you were born to?
Prayer: We know that in the eyes of Divine Love, all people are equally valued. There is love for all and within all. Jesus lived from this reality. He treated everyone with respect, dignity, and compassion. May we allow ourselves to embrace this world view putting aside our pride and our fear. Amen.