National Association of Parents of Autistic People
Dear Jesus, please forgive me for turning to You in relation to such trivial issues, but allow me to say that this should be OK between friends. I was reflecting on the results of our long-drawn election campaign.
Judging from the results of the last general election, You are the real winner. In all major political groupings, we find a large number of elected representatives who do not hide their allegiance to You. Granted, we live in a secular nation, but if your mind worked like the ones belonging to us, the little men and women, You would be proud of us. Fortunately, You are not made like that.
You whip us with your words: “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my heavenly Father”. What better way to do His will than by becoming your disciples, and walking with You towards Emmaus? You are showing us the way, You reveal the meaning of Scripture to us, You asked yourself first, in Gethsemane, how can we comply thoroughly with God the Father’s will. How can we answer that question in the affirmative, if we run the risk of being marginalized?
If we look around, we notice quite a few MPs and senators who hark to your teaching; some know You so well that at times they play with your words. What better situation for those who believe in the galvanizing power of the Gospel! Just imagine the Catholic politicians of all hues wielding the sword of early Christianity, walking into the Temple and throwing out merchants and money changers, exclaiming: “Take all these things out of there! Do not turn my Father’s house into a bazaar!”. They would then discover that, not for the first time, You were not referring to a building made of heaps of stones, but to the Temple of the spirit in a society made corrupt by all sorts of emptiness, greed, selfishness, hatred, falsehood, pettiness, instant gratification, saturated with all of this to such an extent, that it would be difficult, perhaps impossibile to ‘contaminate’ it through your teaching.
Will these self-professed Catholic politicians recognize You in the faces of the humble, will they be able to give You a glass of water, treat You when You are sick, visit You in gaol ... without turning these gestures into an election-driven photo opportunity or a public display of charity?
We have had some doubts about their real power to affect the lives of those who are on the edge of society every time we remember that during the last Parliament, the parliamentarians most active in helping our weaker brethren were those who believe that human beings can get along without You.
What happened was just like the parable You once told, about a Good Samaritan, i.e. a heretic for the society of the time, who with admirable selflessness, assisted a person whom other ‘worthier’ individuals had ignored. Today, those Good Samaritans are not represented in Parliament, so who will look after the marginalized in our media-dominated democracy, while at the same time rejecting all profitable opportunities?
You knew people with disabilities all too well, and healed some of them. Doubtless, You gave them back their dignity when You told them that they did not atone for anybody else’s sins, but instead they were glorifying God throughout their lives. It took me a while to grasp that God’s glory does not manifest itself in the love that people feel for a disabled person, but in the fact that God loves diversity, regards it as an integral part of human existence, essential to humanity, and, through it, wants us to be united by fraternal love, in communion with Him, who is the source of all good things.
It would be easier to instil into parents a feeling of resignation vis-a-vis a child with a serious disability, and convince them that their child is a vegetable and therefore, that they must look after that child, rather than destroy it; it would be easier to convince those parents that they are crazy to welcome into their family an adopted child with a disability, advise them not to live through what they have to live through, and refuse to have a life goal which differs from the emptiness of modern life.
Jesus, I know that when You said ‘The poor will always be with you’, You did not allude to their inescapable destiny, but to the fact that human beings have hard heads, and to our foolishness and callousness. Therefore, I beg You to grant us the strength to continue to relate their story, and to grant new eyes to the decision-makers, so that they may see where we are heading.
Inspire them when they make decisions, to prevent them from only looking after the interests of their own faction.
Grant them the grace to live peacefully with everyone, including themselves.
5 May 2008
ANGSA Veneto onlus