Monday, March 08, 2021

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

“No prophet is without honor except in his own native place,” words spoken by Christ about the rejection he experienced from his own people. Frequently, it is the people closest to us who truly do not understand who we are. Perhaps they think they know us so well that any action or thought we have that is NOT pleasing to them makes them reject us. The ultimate rejection from those closest to us, our parents, siblings, and yes, even our spouses, happens when we give praise to individuals or people they don’t like or despise.

This happens much more than most of us would like to believe, because serious difficulties occur in all families where close relationships make claims on those WITHIN the family. And expectations. If someone within the family or someone outside the family hurts me, I want everyone in the family to gather around ME and defend me, take my side, against the one who hurt me. Don’t you dare take that person’s side or see things from their perspective.

Jesus was admonishing his own people for their provincial and narrow attitudes about outsiders and foreigners. He was speaking a truth, that those we hold in contempt may be the very people most open to change and inner transformation... whose hearts are NOT hardened. His own people were so furious by his ability to see God in the outsider that they wanted to kill him!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, violence is the response of so many to those who are not members of the “tribe.” This way of living goes back to when we actually were tribal and needed to protect our families from those outside our tribal loyalties Tribal conflicts still haunt us in every part of the world. But the gospel call is to move BEYOND this way of living to a more global and universal vision, uniting the many “tribes” into a unity of many cultures and families.

Our vision, our way of seeing family and our very selves, how we see those who have different beliefs or are from different cultures... must be expanded. But when you expand your vision, expect serious backlash from those closest to you.

Fr. Frank