Jesus met and interacted with many people who had been labeled by their communities: The whore, the tax collector, the Scribe, the Roman Soldier, the leper, etc. He looked beyond the reality of their current situation to the person within. He talked with them, he got to know the person behind the label. Where I live he would see beyond the Parkinson's guy in the wheelchair, the wanderer, the really grumpy old guy, the woman who never smiles, the woman who introduces herself to you every time you meet--even if its only been 5 minutes. He would take the time to sit down and listen as they talked about their past, their path, their hopes and dreams. It is the least we owe to those around us: to drop the labels and get to know the person, to honor the person, to hear the person, to love the person.
God, who sees through the labels and the outward appearance to the person within, we rejoice that in seeing us for who we really are, you love us. You know our hopes and dreams. You know our failures and foibles. You know our fears and faults. You know how very much we want to be a part of helping your reality to come to pass. Help us also to do that with and for the people around us, so that they might see and feel your love through us.......Amen.