Jackie visited last week and left several boxes of books in my apartment, part of “Operation Marriage” and our plan to slowly move her stuff into my apartment before June 1st. I was tired of reading non-fiction Catholic books all the time and decided to switch up the genre, rustling through the boxes until I found an intriguing book called “The House of the Scorpion.” Written in 2002 by Nancy Farmer, the book is a child’s riveting tale of his life as a clone of a powerful drug lord and search for human dignity. I stayed in bed until I finished the book.
Virtually everyone hates Matt because he isn’t a real human, just a clone. Servants treat him kindly until they notice the tattoo on his foot and then they refer to him as “it,” legally classified as livestock. Throughout the book Matt wonders whether he has a soul, whether he could be baptized, whether he is anything more than a “photograph” of an elderly drug lord, birthed by a cow.
Why was the story so gripping? Because dehumanizing people is a recurring storyline throughout humanity’s history. Poor people, slaves, illegal immigrants the young, the elderly, anyone who is different can be and has been made into an “it,” excusing peoples’ consciences.
Jesus is different, and we look to Him as our example, as well as the saints like St. Francis and Mother Teresa who have seen a “little Jesus” in everyone. Lord have mercy.
Have you ever treated someone with less respect than they deserve as one of God’s children? I have.