Readings for Today
“That’s not fair!” How many times has a child said this to mom or dad? “That’s not fair!” Equality seems to be a fundamental value in the United States. The word is thrown around a lot in politics, it is an early concept learned by children, and it is something we all desire, to be treated fairly. But what does equality really mean?
The word equal can be translated the same as. So when we speak of a right, such as the right to free speech as being a sign of equality, it means the right given is the same for everyone. It does not treat one person differently than the next. No, in the name of equality, every person has the same right to free speech.
There are other moments, however, when we do not treat someone exactly the same, and doing so, creating some inequality, is ok. Parents do not treat their children equally, because each child has unique needs and a unique personality. An effective teacher does not treat all children equally, because each child has a different way to effectively learn. And each child has unique needs. We do not punish children who wear glasses by telling them to take them off, because we want to treat all children the same, and since some children do not have glasses, then no one can wear them. That would be silly. We recognize that treating children fairly does not mean treating them equally.
I worked in a school where a teacher had this taped to her desk: “Fair is not always equal.” And so it is with God. God loves every person he has created. But God also knows that every person is not the same, precisely because God is the creator. Differences require that God deal in a unique way with each one of us. And these differences, if celebrated, make for a more complete picture of the image of God.
Where do we see this in the Church? There are different religious orders, stressing different gifts, there are different styles of preaching, different cultures, different ways of expressing the call of God in our lives. How is it that God invites you to a deeper prayer life? What is it that God does that helps you to grow closer to him? How is it that you need to change your life to be more attentive to the presence of God?