Monday of Week 6 in Ordinary Time
“So the Lord put a mark on Cain, to prevent whoever might come across him from striking him down.”
I’ve stopped having people over for dinner at my house. I need a break. It’s not just that the pandemic rages on despite America’s best efforts to vaccinate its people. I have had ENOUGH of identity politics at my dinner table. Maybe I’m old and I remember a simpler, more peaceful time, when people didn’t talk over each other, or interrupt one another, or make personal attacks just to prove a point. Maybe I don’t like confrontation. Maybe it is MY home after all, and I’m allowed to put up barricades if I choose to. All this talk of unity is well and good, but it begins at home – with patience, acceptance and a willingness to consider another’s point of view. If you’re coming to my house to eat my food and drink my wine, isn’t it only good manners to check your baggage at the door? I am not the enemy. I have no beef with anyone. I accept you as you are. Can you not extend to me the same grace?
This is the tragic story of our country at the moment. For all the soaring rhetoric about healing and unity, nothing will change if at dinner tables all over America, families cannot put aside their differences and find that middle ground where we love each other despite our opinions and orientations. God marked Cain with His forgiveness so all could see and pay heed. Where is the forgiveness for me? Why am I a target because I happen to have views that don’t align with yours? Who made you judge, juror and grand arbiter of how our great country should be run? Is this place not big enough for all of us to co-exist? It has been for generations before us, why not now?
Christ presciently said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). And that’s true, even in one’s own family. The people closest to you will struggle to see you. They’ll struggle to count your views worthwhile. Nearness breeds contempt, perhaps? Jesus, the Son of God, was himself rejected and made to feel small in his own house. “Where did this man get such wisdom and miraculous powers?… Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Matt 13:55). And as the Gospel reading goes, it is important to know your audience and recognize when you’re around people who just want to argue, who engage you only to aggrandize themselves and prove their point. Heed the wisdom in the Bible and move on from lost causes. “Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Matt 7:6). Just get up and take your leave.
“Then he (Jesus) left them, got into the boat again and went to the other side of the lake” (Mark 8:11-13).
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for the wisdom to discern a lost cause when we see one and move on.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all those who accept us as we are, who love us despite our flaws and hear us, even if they don’t necessarily agree with our point of view.