A pool, not a swab, of sweat sits on the exercise apparatus where I was about to lay my head while working my flabby abs. I ask myself: “What is the matter with people?”

Walking against the light, a jaywalker strolls in front of my car, his eyes locked straight ahead to let me know that he thinks I think he doesn’t matter; in reality he’s telling me I don’t matter. And, as I fume, I say to myself: If Jesus weren’t my co-pilot…

Our daily interactions, daily inconveniences, daily doses of incivility, and the daily crust of indifference we force feed each other spur me to ask: What is the matter with people?

Do they think someone else should wipe up their sweat? Do they think that other people’s time is meaningless? Do they think that the drivers and passengers in the cars waiting for them don’t matter? Don’t they know that the grrr the cars emit is coming not from the engine but the drivers???

And what of the lost, frustrated, irritated souls who drop by church expecting that we have the answer to any and all things that ail them, the ones who curse us and call us names when we aren’t human ATMs. Does St. Luke’s look like a money tree? What is the matter with people?

And if this is our daily crust of indifference, how big a leap is it from incivility to inhumanity? What is the matter with people that we think we don’t sweat or don’t matter or, as has justifiably asked time and again, that we don’t need to breathe?

I Can't BreatheWhat is the matter with people? Nothing that hasn’t always been the matter: our narcissism, our selfishness, our sin, our inability to realize we are all equal in the eyes of God, our inability to attune our eyes and ears and hearts and minds to love. It’s always been here. Our lack of civility, our lack of humanity, is one with our failure to be in touch with divinity.

That’s what’s the matter!

Crèche SceneWhat we need is that touch of divinity, and it is precisely that divinity that seeks us at Christmas.