Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
|A stream in the Portland|
So when I got there I was astonished to be shaking hands with men who had no fingers, and some who had lost their feet. I supposed they were all friars, and perhaps they'd had a rough go of it in some foreign country. I hope my surprise did not register on my face and that I was as gracious to these guests of the federal government as I was to the bona fide friars.
In any case, I found myself among "the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind." They were human beings like myself, like human beings all over the earth. Living in our sanitized nation where image is everything we're hardly aware of how many people suffer acute disabilities. We only hear stories of African adults who have crawled all their lives to crocodile-infested rivers to bathe and wash their clothes. We have only read about minorities who have lived for generations in city dumps, like the Christians of Egypt.
On another occasion I was reminded of our pathetic condition when I visited a children's hospital in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Families came from all over the United States for corrective spinal-and osteosurgery on their children. While I was saddened by the plight of the children, I was appalled by this reminder that we have borne such children for a million years and are only now learning how to restore their abilities to walk, run and dance.
As we celebrate Halloween today, the scriptures remind us that we must welcome people whose very image frightens us terribly. They are our children; they are us.