1Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19
2.1Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Gospel 4:21-30

Familiarity breeds contempt

There is a story of the priest who made a trip to the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem in 1985. Among the spots he visited was the tomb of King David, a highly revered monument for all Jews. As they were moving around the lady tourist guide Kindly showed them David's Shrine and explained the great significance of the hallowed ground.
Furthermore, as the tour was about to end, this priest asked: " What about Jesus Christ? How do you regard Him? The lady looked at him sharply , her face stiffening, she said angrily, " Jesus Christ was an impostor, an ordinary person, he doesn't mean anything to us."

The priest sensing that he had touched a raw nerve, he politely thanked the lady and hurriedly left the Jewish shrine. So even up to day, the Jewish people are still waiting for the Messiah to come.
In different degrees and on many occasions, we are also guilty of this thing. There is a tendency in us to discriminate against people according to their appearance, background and status in life. This blinds us from giving respect and loving people for what they are. This in fact blinds us not to see potentialities in others. We fail to grasp the truth that their dignity, as it is also true with our own lies on the fact that we are children of God.

What happened in the synagogue happens even today in some of our churches and communities. We may carry what we call prejudices with us into our places of worship, and if we do, we shut our minds off to the message God wants to give us. Our prejudice can be against the hierarchic Church as such. A prejudiced mind will never sit comfortably in church and will never find fulfillment in worship or carry the gospel message home.

In one of his autobiographies, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he began  to read the Gospels seriously and even considered embracing Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system( social classes) that was dividing people of India. Thus one Sunday he decided to attend services at nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he goes and worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned. " If Christians have caste differences also," he said, " I might as well remain a Hindu."That usher's prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from knowing Jesus more closely.

One spiritual writer named Eckhart Tolle, wrote how prejudice can degrade another human person " Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified only with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your only concept  of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence." We are challenged that do we take prejudices into our place of worship? Are we prejudiced against individuals or any community? If so we turn to Jesus for healing.

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Chapisha Maoni