Do not look down on people out of contempt or over-familiarity
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Emenike Onyia
In life people are quick to neglect and look down on others, who they believed cannot offer them anything good at the moment. They are quick to forget that everyone, no matter the present condition is a potential instrument for God’s blessings. This is the ugly attitudes of the people of Israel in our first reading and also the people of Nazareth in our Gospel passage today. Little wonder when God sent prophet Ezekiel to his people he said to him: “I am sending you to the Israelites, to a nation of rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. Their sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know that there is a prophet among them”. Prophet Ezekiel no doubt was rejected and treated badly and humiliated by his own people because of his message of truth and liberation. Although the Lord made him strong even in the midst of all his challenges.
This is exactly what happened in our Gospel passage when Jesus came to his home town and taught the people in the synagogue in such a way that they were astonished, but instead of embracing the message of Jesus, they treated him with contempt and in their pride they said: ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers and sisters here with us? Where did he get all these?’ And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’, and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith and he marvelled because of their unbelief. Thus, out of pride and contempt the people rejected the blessings God has for them. And like the prophets of old, Jesus was not accepted by the very people to whom he had been sent. Because the people showed only little faith, he was only able to cure only few sick persons. But he went on to teach in other villages, while there were few great work done in his hometown.
So, if he is not allowed to do good where he would, he must do it some other place. Therefore, he had to move on, he did not insist on convincing those whose minds were closed. Consequently, they missed out the blessings he is offering them. So in their pride they treated him with contempt. Today this kind of ugly attitude is what stops people from doing good, because they don’t want to be treated with contempt and as a result, a lot of people have been deprived of their blessings out of human pride and contempt. This should not be our attitude towards God’s message and messengers. Dear friends, do not treat anyone with contempt, for everyone is a potential instrument of God’s blessings and favour. And if we want to make a difference in life, we should be ready to ignore what people are saying about us now, we have to forget our past failures and our humble beginning. People may not appreciate us now, they may even say all kinds of things about us, just to humiliate and discourage us. But we should not give up, we should remain faithful and humble, just like for St. Paul in our second reading who says: “to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’
So I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong”. Therefore, as children of God living in a world hostile to our faith and mission, we should never give up. We should rather put all our obstacles behind us and work hard for our dreams, give our time to it, sacrifice our sleep and comfort, sweat for it, plan for it, overcome all our terrors of opposition, enduring pains and obstacles, with the help of God we will succeed and become sources of God’s blessings to others. Then we will sing joyfully to God our strength and all the people will gather about us in praise of our God. And they will say: Are not these the Carpenter’s sons or daughters? Where then did they get all these? Yes, that’s who we are, for Jesus is the Carpenter of our success and salvation. LET US PRAY: Almighty God, oftentimes in our pride we treat people with contempt because of their humble background, give us the grace to realize that everyone is a potential instrument of your blessings and favour to humanity, and as we struggle towards our goals, may you crown all our efforts and sacrifices with success. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Peace be with you.