let me be


(for Ordinary Time)

Let me be quick.
The reduction of parts of humanity
To single-minded organisms
Of little or no use to you
Besides a formless, feared enemy:
This reduction will not stand.
And I’m not talking about standing before
Web-wide talking heads or
Pandering preachers
Or even indignant citizens, no.
I’m talking finality.

Let me be clear.
When you stand before
A righteous, ruling King
Who came from a faraway land
And was rejected at the gates of this one,
And you look him in the eye,
(If you can)
What will you have said about mercy?

Let me be practical.
Did you give to the needy?
Did you open your door?
Did you visit the sick?
Did you feed the poor?
Did you give anything tangible or intangible to people who didn’t deserve it
Or warrant it
Or have anything to offer back?
When he separates us out, it will not be by immaculate theology, but by righteous action.
If those who show mercy are given mercy, what happens to those who show none?

Let me be merciful.
If only for fear that on that day no mercy would be shown to me,
But mostly because it already has been,
In stunning, cross-bloodied fashion.
He came for the tired, the poor,
The huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
And the tyrant, the pundit, the muddled maddening persecutors of the weak.
Before you stand as ruler and judge of the enslaved world,
Did you pray for those you hate?

Let me be honest.
There is a special place reserved in hell for all of us,
And the only cancellation is by replacing your name with another’s.
Be careful how you use that Name.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Matthew 5:7

“Isten hozott,” a Hungarian welcome, literally means “God-brought.” We received this door sign from a dear friend who used to live in Budapest.

(Liturgical poetry for the Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday is inspired by the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12)

inherit the wind
count my bones
careful of the cut

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