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There is an old riddle in the Jewish Talmud that asks: “Why did the Tower of Babel fall?”  The answer: “Because the leaders of the project were more interested in the work than in the workers.” 

When a brick would fall and break, the owners were upset and bewailed the loss of a brick. But when a worker fell to the earth through exhaustion, they were ignored. 

The Talmud says that God destroyed the Tower of Babel not because it was reaching toward heaven, but because the owners were more interested in the bricks than in the bricklayers.

The same is true today in the corporate world where the only thing that matters is the bottom line. The Talmud story highlights the basis of rejection – reducing people to categories, making them abstractions, not knowing them by name or calling them by name. They are a number, an abstraction. 

I am beginning to see this more and more in my visits to various doctors: “How old are you?” Rather than helping me to get better, I sometimes feel I am being reduced to a category – “OLD”.

Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd in today’s Gospel (John 10:11-18). He knows each one of his sheep. He calls each by name. The sweetest sound to our ears in all the world is to hear the sound of our own name spoken by someone who knows and loves us. When I am quiet and am trying to pray, I can hear Jesus call my name!  Like “Maria” in West Side Story.

Think of a time when someone said YOUR name aloud and you felt so alive and loved.

ALLOW YOURSELF THE JOY OF BEING PICKED UP AND CARRIED BACK HOME BY JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD! 

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