BY ERIC CLAYTON | March 5, 2021
Today’s Readings

I had only one pair of pants, two shirts, my camera, and a Star Wars novel. Everything else was still in my suitcase. And my suitcase was still somewhere between Toronto and Frankfurt. 

I was in Amman, Jordan, wondering how I might still capture enough media content to make the transatlantic journey worthwhile. I was there to learn about the Jesuit Center and the refugee community it serves.

I stumbled out of the airport terminal and found my hosts: two young South Sudanese men and an American Jesuit. Huddled around a tiny table at the airport café, we hatched plans to both recover my lost suitcase and lost time. 

cornerstone

“I only have these two shirts so I hope no one will be offended,” I joked. Then I caught myself. Here I was, making a big deal about lost luggage, limited belongings and an inconvenient array of airline connections.

And I was talking to guys who had fled violence in South Sudan with nothing to their name. My missed connections cost me a matter of hours; they’d been in Jordan for years.

Today’s readings are all about rejection. Joseph’s brothers reject him because their father seemingly loves him best. Jesus, too, warns us that rejection will follow those who live the Gospel. St. Ignatius taught that rejection is to be expected if we’re following Christ’s path of downward mobility.

Sitting at that café in the Queen Alia International Airport, I might as well have been a modern-day Joseph. 

Did I not appear to be the favored son to my South Sudanese hosts, waxing poetic about clothing and personal items? Didn’t they, as children of the same God, wonder why I had been seemingly chosen for gifts and glory while they were cast aside, while they had been rejected by society?  

And yet, it wasn’t rejection that greeted me but hospitality.

Maybe rejection is only a Gospel necessity because we haven’t yet been courageous enough to dream up a world, to act on behalf of a world, where everyone is welcome. Let’s make that our Lenten commitment. 

For Reflection:

  • Rejection seems unavoidable as we follow the Gospel. Yet, how often am I the one guilty of rejecting others? 
  • How does this rejection manifest itself in my actions, thoughts and words? 
  • How might I use these forty days to sow seeds of welcome?

5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Rejection is often very subtle. It could be as simple as looking away from a person in need either because we feel the rejection is just part of the flow of life at this point. I need to recoil from those feelings and embrace in thought all those who have that stigma to me and come into my path. I need to bring them the joy of acceptance and even applause. The person in need belongs to God and needs the love of God’s family on earth so that the person can feel/understand the warmth of everyone of us who comes across the person’s path. Today I will give away warm looks and say “God has given me another person to love!”

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  2. Avatar
    Kathleen Lang says:

    Your Lenten post today brought back memories of my arrival in Bolivia as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in 2011. Somehow American Airlines had misplaced my luggage so I arrived with only what I was wearing (winter clothing into a summer climate!) and a few personal items in my purse. Yet in that first 24 hours of my mission I was greeted with kindness and hospitality from both my Maryknoll community and my host family.

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  3. Avatar
    Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, PhD. says:

    I so appreciate the critical lens Eric turned on himself. How are we blinded by “first world problems” while we fail to notice the utter precariousness of life for the rest of our kin? Turning that camera awy from ourselves and toward others is a beautiful Lenten practice.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Rejection is a sort of a test. Jesus was rejected by some. Prophets were rejected. And so many before and after had to undergo rejection. It appears there is lot of meaning and content in rejection.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Joan L. says:

    Where everyone is welcome! This statement says a lot. For myself I find that i need to become more educated about ‘other peoples’ so I won’t in my thoughts or words will reject part of the Body of Christ. I just finished watching a documentary on Islam which was very enlightening and reminded me to do more of the same this Lent and beyond.

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