Matthew 9: Written Off

Hey, you know how you can pass the same place a zillion times and on the zillion-and-first time, you notice something that was always there but you never really saw before?

Today’s gospel is Matthew 9:18-26 – Jesus brings back to life a girl who died (with another story in the middle that inspired a great Sam Cooke song; another day…). Heard it a dozen times. Matthew tells it a little differently than Mark and Luke. 

But I just today noticed, really, when Jesus says “The girl’s not dead, she’s just asleep,” how everyone mocks him. Treats him with contempt. They know the girl is dead, beyond saving. 

It made me think today about all the people that we think are beyond help. 

They might be immigrants, or they might be border patrol. 

They might be social justice warriors, or they might be MAGA folks. 

They might be LGBT, or they might be homophobes. 

They might be pro-choice, or they might be pro-life. 

You’ve probably got your set of beyond-hope groups. You probably also can’t believe someone else would write off groups of people you know, love, are. 

Jesus raising the girl is about not writing off anyone as “not worth God’s love” or “not worth God’s time.” 

Crossing off the groups on your “write-off” list and recognizing they aren’t dead is the easy part; you’ve been deputized to go love those folks, not abstractly but in person, to prove to them and even more to you that Jesus was right. They aren’t dead. They’re just sleeping.

You’d think I’d have noticed that before…

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