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When others judge us wrongly
Take a close look at this Sunday’s Gospel story. Jesus has just finished reading the scripture that we heard on the previous Sunday (“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,” etc.). He tells the people in the synagogue that this scripture is now being fulfilled through him, and they all speak highly of him. But by the end of this scripture, they’re furious with him.
What changed their attitude?
Their awe turned into confusion when they remembered, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” Unlike those who would meet Jesus for the first time in later chapters of the story, these people had experiences with Jesus the toddler who fell when learning to walk, Jesus the teenager who bled from mistakes made while learning the carpentry trade from his father, Jesus the young man who wept at his father’s funeral.
Their attitude changed when they stopped listening with their spirits and started listening with their pre-conceived notions. This disconnect from the divine then stirred up their emotions.
Think of how people react when you confuse them by doing or saying something out of character, that is, out of the character that they expect from you. If you’re perceived as too young or too old to do what you are in fact capable of doing, or if your education level doesn’t include a formal degree that proves that you know what you do already know, or if you don’t tell people what they want to hear, their surprise turns into confusion that triggers an emotional response against you.
We expect them to believe us and trust us, and when they don’t, our surprise turns into confusion that triggers an emotional response against them. But how did Jesus handle it when they treated him this way? He calmly spoke a truth that was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Did he have an emotional reaction? Sure! He was human like us; we were all created by the Father to have emotions. The problem is not in the emotions; the problem occurs when we listen through our emotions instead of our spiritual connection to the Holy Spirit.
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St. Mary’s Catholic Church
812 Duke Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Monday through Friday
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM