|22nd Week in Ordinary Time:
(28 August- 3 September 2016)
Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy
During my recent holidays in the Czech Republic I had a picnic lunch with some friends by a small, disused, 11th century church. Some signs nearby described some of the archaeological significance of the church and its graveyard. One of the photos on the sign, showing a grave that had been uncovered, got my curiosity. It said, “vampire counter measures”. It was a bit of a shock to me. As I read on, it described how the burial rituals used by the local Christians at this time were heavily infused with superstition. Often times people with physical deformities or mental disabilities were dismembered at burial to prevent them coming back as vampires. It was only with the development of the first universities at this time, further facilitated by the monastic movement and persistent catechesis, that attitudes slowly changed and a more developed understanding of life and death in our physical bodies grew.
As Christians we can tend to think our heritage is untainted by such social issues and cruel actions. Yet the reality for us all as human beings, that Jesus reminds us of in today’s gospel, is that we share in a world in which social distinctions matter intensely for us, and separate us from each other. The message then is the same as it was for the people of Jesus’ time…as God's people we seek to live by a different social system marked by a deep and radical inclusion.