Saint Clement I, Pope and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
You have answered well.
During a family reunion, Tim learned that a cousin was an agnostic but that he also had a deep sympathy for the sufferings of the poor. After listening to his cousin explain what he believed, Tim shared about his experience helping stock the local food pantry and meeting some of the people who visited there. He also talked about Jesus’ concern for the poor and outcast. Tim’s cousin was intrigued and said he’d like to visit the food pantry with him.
You could say that Tim took a lesson from Jesus’ conversation with the Sadducees in today’s Gospel (Luke 20:39). As a religious group, the Sadducees didn’t acknowledge all of the Hebrew Scriptures—just the “Law,” or the first five books of the Bible. When they challenged his teaching on the resurrection, Jesus surprised them by pointing to a passage in the Book of Exodus that supported what he had said. Because Jesus drew his explanation from something they had already affirmed, they came away impressed.
Trying to relate to people who are different from us can be scary. Whether we disagree about sports, politics, sexual morality, or religion, chances are that we would rather not get into an uncomfortable conversation. But Jesus’ dialogue with the Sadducees gives us a three-part model that we can follow.
First, be peaceful. Try to approach people who are different from you with peace in your heart. You may not agree with their views, but never forget that God loves them. Try not to look at them as “enemies” or as opponents in any way. Let your own demeanor set the tone for your conversation.
Second, find common ground. Always begin by looking for something that you agree on. Even when you disagree with 90 percent of a person’s outlook, find something you can affirm. This can be a wonderful starting point for a meaningful dialogue.
Finally, make positive connections. Look for the ways in which a person’s outlook aligns with Scripture and Catholic teaching. Help them see that they are closer to the Lord than they might think—and that God is closer to them as well. Reach out in love, and you will make a difference.
“Lord, help me to connect with people who are different from me.”
1 Maccabees 6:1-13
Psalm 9:2-4, 6, 16, 19
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