You might have read about Tal Fortgang, the Princeton freshman who earlier this year pressed back against what he thought was an unfair counsel to “check your privilege at the door.” Today’s gospel provides its own “check” on privilege. It reminds us that God doesn’t value the structures and the ways of the world, including who and what the world privileges.

When I lived in Tanzania, I once teasingly asked a poor mother with a load of children which of them she favored. She understood my question as a serious one and told me that her “favorite” changed all the time: “Whichever one is suffering the most is my favorite.” Her approach to loving was divine. I write “divine” because we learn in today’s Gospel that our God is inclined to show special generosity to the poor and outcast. No wonder I, enjoying my privilege, sometimes get anxious.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is a professor of education and Rector of the Jesuit community at John Carroll University, University Heights OH.