The Franciscan Rule and the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Cypess treesJesus began speaking in the synagogue, “Today this Writing is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” He told them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do in your native place the things we heard were done in Capernaum.”

010One minute the crows sings his praises, and the next, they are a lynch mob. Do we do the same? Do we sing the praises of our favorite leader, so long as he tells us what we want to hear? When he compares us with the Pharisees, or other villains, do we change course and become a lynch mob? What of other prophets, speakers of the truth. When they tell us what we want to hear, do we follow them, to our own doom, if need be? This is something for each of us to reflect upon.

“Capernaum,” comes from the Greek. We have a similar word, “Cypress.” Also related in the Jewish concept of Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement. “ Think of Kippur, “Atonement” in relation to the cypress trees. They provide shade, and from the point of view of someone looking down from on high, “God,” they hide, or cover the faults of the people who are below.

Be a RippleIsaiah 40 begins, “Comfort/Naum, comfort/Naum, my people, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem. Proclaim to her, her service has ended; her guilt is expiated. She has received from the hand of the NAME double for all her deviations.” The Synoptic Gospels use this passage to begin speaking of John the Baptist. Capernaum speaks of the comfort coming from atonement. The Israel Department of Tourism writes of the village, “The remains… were identified in 1838 by Eduard Robinson as Capernaum of the New Testament… The site was acquired by the Franciscan Fathers at the end of the 19th century, who conducted excavations.”

Our Secular Franciscan Rule states, “United by their vocation as brothers and sisters of penance, and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel itself calls conversion. Human frailty makes it necessary that we carry out this conversion daily. On this road to renewal the sacrament of reconciliation is the privileged sign of the Father’s mercy and the source of grace. Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone. Chapter 2 Section 4 of the Secular Franciscan Rule.

habit“Do in your native place the things we things we heard were done in Capernaum.” This is impossible. The miracles require faith and faith causes interior conversion. The crowd wants radical change, but it does not want conversion. Our second reading for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary time states, “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror…. At present, I know partially; I shall know fully. Faith, hope, love remain; but the greatest of these is love.”

We see things partially. The Ethics of the Fathers states, “When sitting in judgment, do not act as a counselor-at-law. When the litigants stand before you, consider them both guilty; and when they leave your courtroom, having accepted the judgment, regard them as equally righteous.”

When people come before this judge, they see things partially, as in a mirror. When they leave court, we have a grander picture. We are reconciled to community, and are righteous.The purist proof that we are wrong is when we are so certain we are right that we do not have to listen to the other side. Being a Tzaddic, being a truly charitable person, means being willing to listen to the other side, asking, “Where does the other side gets its point of view? How can it be so certain of its right, it insists upon going to court? It is only when we are willing to undergo this radical transformation that we can become charitable, wise, as individuals, and as a nation.

It is all about love. Love, in Hebrew comes from a root. Ha Bah, sounds like the bleating of sheep and refers to the Lamb of God, who is to come. Ha Bah means to come. Abba, means father, the one who is to come. A Ha Bah is love.

ST. FrancisSt. Paul writes, “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, It is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.”

Jesus requires this radical transformation for healing. St. Francis requires this radical transformation on a daily basis for healing. Love means welcoming the other person into our hearts and into our lives, daily, early and often. Love means seeing each other as imperfect brothers and sisters, people we have to live with, in our home, whether our home be our dwelling, our city, our state, nation and world. Love means welcoming Muslim, Jew, atheist, or other religious, because they are fellow human beings. Love, God requires no less. “God is love,” I John 4:8.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, or “What is a man’s due?”

384309_549304955086309_357628736_n“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” I Corinthians 12:12-13 Second Reading for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

“As among the different sounds which proceed from lyres, flutes, and the human voice, there must be maintained a certain harmony which a cultivated ear cannot endure to hear disturbed or jarring, but which may be elicited in full and absolute concord by the modulation even of voices very unlike one another. Where reason is allowed to modulate the diverse elements of the state, there is obtained a perfect concord from the upper, lower, and middle classes as from various sounds. What musicians call harmony in singing, is concord in matters of state, which is the strictest bond and best security of any republic, and which by no ingenuity can be retained where justice has become extinct.” St. Augustine, City of God, Book 2, Chapter 21.

one hundred piece orchestra

St. Augustine voices the Western definition of Justice when he writes it is giving every man his due. City of God, Book 19, chapter 4. There is one important thing wrong with this definition. In practical terms, what is any given man’s due? Augustine goes on to write, “There is in man himself a certain just order of nature, so that the soul is subjected to God, and the flesh to the soul, and consequently both soul and flesh to God.” In writing this Augustine refers to the intellectual tradition of the Greeks which has God, first, reason second, and the flesh third. Augustine may also have Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in mind.

This Mitzvah, I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No! It is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.”

CosmosIn Book Three Chapter 8 of his Confessions St. Augustine compares the Ten Commandments to a lyre. Just as the lyre is made of groupings of three and ten strings, so the Ten Commandments are made of the first three referring to God, and the second seven referring to man’s relations with each other. In Augustine’s writing, at least in the book, “The Complete Works of Saint Augustine,” “Music,” appears 71 times. “Concord,” appears 39 times, 10 times in Book 19 alone. Harmony appears 42 times 14 times in our Chapter 19, alone. Justice? It appears in every Book of the City of God, a grand 493 times.

moonSt. Paul tells us in our Second Reading for the Third Sunday of Ordinary time that we are to view our community as an organic whole. St. Augustine reminds us that our community is to be based upon harmony. We have all heard musical groups based upon harmony and have heard how beautiful this can sound. When asking what a man’s due is, we have only to ask, “Will the final product sound harmonic to God’s ears. As we look to the large and growing gap between the rich and poor, in this nation, and in our world, we need only ask, “Is this harmonious to God’s ear?” There is no magic formula here. Tubas are louder than flutes, much louder. The goal is not to make the tuba sound like a flute. If we could, there would be no need for a tuba player. The goal is not to make business executives into plumbers, or vice versa.

habitIn English, we have several basic concepts: Vocation, Profession, Job, and Occupations. The goal is to eliminate jobs and occupations and replace them with Vocation and Profession. Our Vocation is our calling from God. It is not something we take upon ourselves. It is not something we choose. God calls us to these things. This is what St. Paul tells us in the second reading. Likewise, professions are the way we profess our faith in our vocations. As such, professions come from God, and not from ourselves. Again, this is the heart of our second reading. Leaders are just part of the body, no more or less important than the other parts. This does not mean they should be paid the same, or differently. Tubas have different needs than flutes. They also cost more. Likewise synthesizers, pianos… We all have different needs so need to be paid differently.

What is each man’s due? Look to the final product, the final opus. The goal is, as a nation, and as individuals, to conduct the total symphony of communal life to make a work pleasing to God.

Psalm 80, the Our Father, and the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Raphael presentation in the temple

When the days were completed for their purification according to the Torah of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to KYRIE, just as it is written in the Torah of the KYRIE, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the KYRIE…” Luke 2:22-38

When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and deviation offerings you took no delight. I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.“ Hebrews 10:5-10 Second Reading Fourth Sunday of Advent

8919_1243228163516_2601477_nChristianity has had a love/hate relationship with liturgy. Moses lays out the foundations of liturgy in Exodus 22, in Leviticus, and in the Psalms. The prophets condemn liturgy. Genesis 4: 1-4, the story of Cain and Abel, gives the first recorded use of liturgy and explains the why of this love/hate relationship. Cain brings an offering to the NAME from the fruit of the ground. Abel brought the fatty portion of the firstlings of his flock. Abel brings from the first of the flock. Cain, whose name means upraised/prideful one, brings his whatever. The contest rests upon the key word, “first.”

The Jewish understanding of liturgy, from Leviticus, tells us what we bring as sacrifice represents ourselves. The leader brings his bulls, representing leadership. The poor, as related in Luke, bring doves, representing the suffering of these birds in sacrifice. We bring who we are, and who we are manifests itself by what we do. Cain brings his whatever, not making sure that what he brings is the best of what he has. When we give each other presents, the general rule of thumb is not to bring what we like. We bring what speaks to the relationship. God asks for the gift we bring to him to speak to our relationship with him by doing his will.

Words of InstitutionWhen we pray the Our Father, we ask, “Our Father,” the first words speak to the relationship of father, and we, as children of the church, his bride, to our relation as children. “Who are in heaven…” Heaven is the air. We like to think of heaven as up there, somewhere, but the air is here. As the air blows as wind, coming and going as it wills, as John tells us in his Gospel, God calls us to breath in this wind, allow it to remain within us, and move us to heal and transform.

“Dedicated is your NAME.” We dedicate God’s Name, not by words we say, but by what we do. You represent your family by your actions, whether you like it, or know it, or not. When we behave well, we dedicate God’s name by being an example. Others dedicate God’s Name saying, “I teach you customs and precedents as the NAME, my God, commanded me, that you guard to do them in the land you are entering to possess. Guard them carefully, for this is your wisdom and discernment in the sight of the peoples, who will hear of all these precedents and say, “This great nation is truly a wise and discerning people.” Deuteronomy 4:5-6

PovertyIn Hebrew and Aramaic, prayer is a reflexive verb. It is sitting down with God and asking him to work with us as we do his will. “Your will be done, your will be done…” This is a request that he give us direction to do his will. Then comes his will. “Give us this day our daily bread.” The Greek for “Daily,” most properly translates as, “Over being.” It is the bread of over being or spiritual bread. As “daily bread,” the emphasis is upon, “Us.” It means we ask God to help us make sure all of us have the bread we need to live and survive as human beings. This is not subsistence living. This is living with the over bread, the bread of being human, with all it means to be human. We pray for the where withal to make sure all people on this planet have sufficient for their needs.

563670_4908488437728_2091044043_nThen we pray that we forgive others as God forgives us first. We pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” King David, in Proverbs 30:10 says it well, “Two things I ask of you, do not deny them to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need (daily bread); Lest, being full, I deny you, “Who is the NAME?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.” This fulfilled is being lead not into temptation. “Evil?” The Hebrew word means rot. God wants a healthy world. God put us on this planet to guard it and to keep it. He wants our best.

When we give our best, God loves and looks down well on our liturgy as it is bringing the best of ourselves into his presence. When we do less. When we give second best to our world, not making sure all have sufficient to their needs, now and into posterity, taking care of our planet, God does not look well upon our liturgy. This is today’s lesson.

Drunk in the Spirit, turning water into wine

Champagne_uncorking_photographed_with_a_high_speed_air-gap_flash“They have no wine.” Jesus told her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother told the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” They filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” They took it. When the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine… the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves beautiful wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the beautiful wine until now.”

AnnaOur Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time has two messages. First, we must read of Jesus’ relation with his mother in much the same way we look at the typical relationship between an ethnic mother from Brooklyn with her child. An Anglo child would never speak to his mother as Jesus does with his mother. In a typical ethnic neighborhood, this is normal. We first see this brash way of speaking when Our Blessed Virgin first meets Elizabeth, when the two women are pregnant. There, we need to keep in mind that Elizabeth, as wife of a priest who gives service in the temple, was probably wealthy. The Magnificat about condemning the wealthy. As Our Blessed Virgin was brash with Elizabeth, so Jesus us brash with his mother.


“There were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.” As a point of reference, the human body, if empty, holds about thirty gallons. The ceremonial washings we ritual washings of purification. The passage tells us to do penance. When we drink the ceremonial water of penance, the water washing through us becomes wine. “When the people have drunk freely, an inferior one…” This is because the people are drunk and will no longer no the difference.

This is what penance does for us, when it is sincere. We become filled as with wine. We act like we are drunk. Our first reading sums things up:

“You shall be called “My Delight,“ your land “Espoused.” The NAME delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”

Linda's Wedding PhotoWhy is it that the whole world loves a lover, but nobody loves a churchgoer? We call the beginning of our liturgy the Introductory Rites, the Entrance, the Greeting, the Penitential Act, the Glory to God, and the Collect. The Penitential Act gets us ready for the Glory to God. In the Penitential Act we drink the water of those thirty gallons. We then sing the Glory to God. We become the virgin, the Bride of Christ, who marries the young man, Jesus. Our Builder, God, marries us. We become the Bride of Christ. God rejoices in us, and we in him. We then go out into the world and express that love. The question for us, “Are we married to Christ or not?” “Are we the bride of Christ or no?”

Narthex plantWhen we leave our Cathedral, it is through the Narthex. The Narthex is a plant, but not just any plant. Prometheus used the Narthex to bring fire down from the gods. Let us drink down the fire of the Holy Spirit this Sunday and leave Mass to go forth to love and serve God by bringing his wine to the world.

Being baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire, sounds nice, but what does it mean?

John the BaptistOur Gospel reading is in three parts, representing John the Baptist, the crowd, and Jesus. Of John the Baptist, our Gospel speaks, “I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.” Jesus will later say of John the Baptist, “Among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” There is great humility here.

Of the crowd, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” “Spirit” is Latin for breath. In the Aramaic, “Fire,” and “Man,” are the same word. Aramaic has two words for “Man,” as does German. In German the two words are, “Der Mann,” and “Der Mensch.” In Aramaic, “Adam,” and “Ish,” “Adam” is any man. “Der Mensch,” and “Ish,” are a different story. A Mensch is more than a man. He is a man who follows God’s will. Our readings are about baptism in the Dedicated Breath, this Holy Spirit.

WindThe third part of our Gospel is about Jesus setting the example. The man of fire with the Holy Spirit, is “Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.” He sees in everyone, no matter how big, or how small, how like us, or how not like us, how repulsive in our view, or how appealing, a piece of himself. Of Jesus first, but also of us, our first reading says, “Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth…” To you, Isaiah speaks. The primary reference is Jesus, but Jesus is first example to us. “I, the NAME, called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”


“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” Our Statue of Liberty takes up the same message as Isaiah and John the Baptist. Put aside the pomp and ceremony of idle rites. Rites are not idle when they teach, with their primary emphasis being upon actions. The coastlands await our teaching, the words of our New Colossus.

Of Brit, covenant, one expert writes it means, “circle, ring, chain, to cut a ring out/make a ring, to enter into the ring, and therefore a covenant.” Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature, page 194 God sets us as a Brit, a ring, around the people. He sets the example of what we should be.

doveOur Gospel speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon us in fire. The Holy Spirit then descends upon Jesus. St. Paul writes, “The concern of the flesh is death; the concern of the spirit is life and peace… you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you… those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God… The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified/doxology with him.” What is a doxology but speaking well of someone. When do people speak well of us? When we act like brothers and sisters, taking care of one another, being a light for the nations, opening the eyes of the blind, bringing prisoners from confinement, from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” There is no room here for a nation with 5% of the world’s population an 25% of those in prison.

When we fix this God will say of us as he says of Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

A Christmas Carol, a character study

Americans in particular have a great tradition of watching the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.” In our tradition Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge is a rather shallow character, a miser, who cheats his own employees out of fair wages, and pinches his customers for every penny he can get out of them. We fail to see how this short story is a character study we have much to learn from.

LectionaryScrooge tell his nephew, “”Merry Christmas!  What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You’re poor enough… What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you…? “Much good may it do you!  Much good it has ever done you!”’ These words are from a man who has known poverty.

There are two ways of dealing with poverty, after we have climbed out of it. The first is to fear its return. This is the approach of Scrooge. The approach guarantees poverty continues, for someone. God gives refresher courses. If we do nothing to end poverty, poverty may find us again. The second is to fight to make sure none suffer in the future. This is what the angels teach Scrooge. A Christmas Carol is about.

Read the lines closely. “A time for paying bills without money.” “A time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer.”  “A time for balancing your books and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you…?”  This is a man who understands the futility of doing without. This is a man who understands  the quiet desperation of working all year and having nothing to show for it but bills. This is from Scrooge, before his conversion, not Bob Cratchid.

There is no room in A Christmas Carol for the conflict theory of Karl Marx, though both Charles Dickens and Karl Marx wrote at the same time. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, owns a home with two floors and employees at least one servant, in the original novelette. Dickens places Fred into his story to show how economics is not the issue here. Good will to all men is.  “Scrooge,” comes from our word, scrounge, and means one who scrounges, or scavenges for everything.

Scrooge pays Bob Cratchit 15 shillings a week. This equals £ 360.69, or $547.24. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, workweeks were longer then, this is $13.68 per hour. This is the salary even Scrooge views as being incredibly stingy. What would Scrooge think of refusing to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour? Are we as stingy as Scrooge, arguing anyone should be paid as little as this? Alfred Adler wrote of early recollections in relating how a patient expresses his current self through his recollections, and A Christmas Carol is a story about recollections.

“Scrooge recognizing every gate, and post, and tree…;Shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs, who called to other boys in country gigs and carts, driven by farmers. All these boys were in great spirits, and shouted to each other, until the broad fields were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it…”The school is not quite deserted,” said the Ghost. “A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still.” Scrooge said he knew it, and he sobbed.”

We condemn Scrooge, but we make him. We make him when we see the solitary child among us and do not make a special effort to make that child a member of our community. That is true, whether that child be 5, 10, or 100.

John the BaptistWhen “A Christmas Carol speaks of Scrooge’s friends, Scrooge says, “”Why, it’s Ali Baba!” Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. “It’s dear old honest Ali Baba. Yes, yes, I know. One Christmas time, when yonder solitary child was left here all alone, he did come, for the first time, just like that. Poor boy. And Valentine,” said Scrooge, “and his wild brother, Orson; there they go. What’s his name, who was put down in his drawers, asleep, at the Gate of Damascus; don’t you see him…? ” The man thought he was dreaming, but he wasn’t. It was the Parrot, you know…!”

Scrooge’s friends are characters in novels. Scrooge is an obsessive compulsive who cannot find friends in the real world. He finds friends, first in novels, then in money. The novel continues with Scrooge’s sister, Fran, “Father is so much kinder than he used to be, that home’s like Heaven!” Scrooge’s only recollection of his father was as not so kind. In this regard, he is like Charles Dickens. Home is where father is kind. Scrooge has never known heaven, or home.

One ugly kid 2Of his real friends we only read, “”Dick Wilkins, to be sure,” said Scrooge to the Ghost. “Bless me, yes. There he is. He was very much attached to me, was Dick. Poor Dick. Dear, dear.” Implied, something happened to Dick Wilkins, and it hurt Scrooge deeply.

The real essence of this novel? Scrooge tells his sweetheart, “”This is the even-handed dealing of the world!” he said.” There is nothing on which it is as hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!” “You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?”

Scrooge fears poverty, and he fears human contact. His sweetheart notices this. Scrooge decides to be above the turmoil of daily life, apart from it. He chooses the cold of no human contact over the pain that comes with it.

Scrooge fears the poor as well. The U.S. represents 4.5% of global population but nearly 30% of its total Gross Domestic Product, its wealth. Of this, the richest 20% of the population controls 80% of the wealth. We build fences on our southern border to keep out the poor from the poorer nations to our south and we speak of making sure no non-Protestants enter our border. As Catholics we know of this. We remember the signs of, “No Irish need apply,” and “No Italians need apply.” We know this was in reference to the Irish and Italians being Catholic, non-Protestant. We know of the same for African Americans. If you are of the wrong ethnic group, you are not welcome in America. Now it is Hispanics and Semites. Arabs are Semitic stock. This is all based upon a fear Dickens condemns in the strongest terms.

We live in gated communities and we engage in white flight from our cities to hide ourselves from poverty, just like Scrooge. Still, poverty remains close, in the lives of Bob Cratchid, our employees. We fear contact with our employees, so do not seek them out when planning out our, and their, future.

Like Scrooge, we count our money and we fear those not like us, those who have not. We watch A Christmas Carol every year, but we do not see Scrooge in ourselves. We speak of being God’s stone for transforming the world. Ebenezer comes from the same root of Lazarus, the helper of El, Allah, God. The Hebrew word for “stone,” is “Eben.” Ebenezer means God’s stone. We would be God’s stone. Would we also be Ebenezer?

PhanuelIn the original Greek, Mark 4:24 has a great line, a mixed metaphor, usually translated out. “See what you hear.” If we look for the cold heartedness of others in the world, we will find it.We have interesting puns reflecting this in English. Mean people are mean because they are average. Vulgar people are vulgar for the same reason we have a Vulgate Bible. We of the bourgeois fear the average stock.

Scrooge finds his classmates cold and heard. They are, leaving him in the classroom by himself. They choose not to see the suffering of a little boy under a harsh father. There is no mention of a mother. Kinder and gentler people would see the child in the classroom and find him a mentor child to bring him into community. Do we look for the outcasts of our society and try to bring them into community before they become Scrooges, or criminals of all kinds?

The story juxtaposes Scrooge with Christ. Jesus goes out into the world in all the ugliness the Scrooges of this world sees and it costs him his life. Scrooge hides from it, and in the end, he dies the living death of isolation. Look for the good in people, because it is there, then promote the general welfare.