JULY 4, 2021 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1st Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5
2nd Reading: Corinthians 12:710
Gospel: Mark 6:16
In today's Gospel, we hear how astonished the town mates of Jesus by His words and what He has done. "Where did this man get all these?" they said. What kind of wisdom has been given Him? What mighty deeds are wrought by His hands? Yes they were astonished, but they ended up criticizing Him, and then taking offense at His words and deeds! Their admiration of Jesus was soon replaced by condemnation. Like the people in Jesus' time, human as we are, sometimes we also see the negative more than the positive in people. Why? There is such pride in each one of us that makes us pull down whoever rises higher than ourselves.
Our elders often told us, when we were still young, that people throw stones only at mango trees when they are bearing much fruit. Sad but true. Such is human nature. We are good in the game of leveling, and we have many ways, often unpleasant, to ensure that no one goes ahead or stays ahead of us. These things we do, because of our insecurity!
Quite frankly, I was amazed at Jesus' reaction toward the people who rejected Him. He could have turned angry, violent, or disgusted. He could have become sad or apologetic, or worse, afraid and troubled. But no: He just understood them, and took no offense at them. What a contrast! The people were so insecure and unsure, but He was so secure and sure of Himself. In other words, He did not go down to their level. Jesus teaches us today not to go down to the level of our detractors, and not to play their game of destroying and condemning. Mother Teresa once said, "people are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. it was never between you and them anyway."
Prayer: Lord, help me always to affirm, to appreciate and be kind anyway to people and never reject, judge or condemn them. Amen