Monday, September 2, 2013

Pride and Prejudice

Gospel:    Luke 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


Why do we see things as they are? Why is it so difficult to accept that things aren't always how we perceive them to be? Why is it then that no prophet is accepted in his own native place? The reason is simple, human comprehension is limited. Oftentimes, we only look at things from one perspective - that is, the perspective that benefits us. We always look for our 'comfort zone' and reject the unknown.

Likewise, when we know someone, we establish our own image of him. Then we get trapped in the mindset that this person will stay the same until the end of time. We neglect change and other factors because we only see what we want.

Jesus was rejected by the people of his town. Because the townspeople saw Jesus growing up as a carpenter's son, they refused to believe that HE could be the messiah. They were blinded because they perceived Jesus according to their standards. They found it hard to accept that the savior they were waiting for came in the guise of a lowly carpenter’s son! They must have thought that the messiah would come from a house of prestige and status. They couldn’t imagine themselves bowing down to someone of lower rank. Their pride mixed perfectly with their prejudice chased Jesus away.

So, why then did Jesus visit Nazareth when HE knew what awaited HIM? Again, the reason is simple, Jesus is not human and hence his comprehension is not limited. HE treats all of us similarly regardless of our caprices. HE loves us equally and wants us to know that HE will always be with us even though HE knows that by doing so, only suffering awaits HIM.

Touched by Jesus' great love, let us not allow ourselves to be blinded by pride and prejudice. For it is only when we step out of our 'comfort zone' that we see things in a new light. Why don't we try to love like Jesus?