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Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

There are good people in our country, maybe even in our own city, who find it very hard, even impossible to be accepted into certain neighborhoods and be hired into particular companies. Because of suspicions, prejudices, and hatreds, many good, honest, hard-working people are excluded from places and positions that are in theory the right of all United States citizens. Such a situation is a pity and a scandal. Those among us who are excluded suffer much in some way, those of us who exclude others suffer in other ways.

Do you know Jesus was excluded from some places? Did you know the Son of God was told he was not wanted by some people, that the likes of him would not be tolerated in their neighborhood? That’s what happened in our gospel today. Jesus was not wanted by the people of the Gerasene territory. They told him, begged him to leave. On another occasion a town full of Samaritans told him he was not welcome to stay with them; and on still another occasion he was run out of his own home town of Nazareth, the people there even attempted to throw him off a cliff. We all know what happened to him in Jerusalem. The authorities crucified him.

People who are excluded suffer a lot, as did Jesus. But those who exclude others also suffer a lot. They miss out on the good they could have experienced from the presence of the people they exclude. Many people missed out on the good Jesus had to offer. They missed out on a lot of spiritual good. Excluding others can be detrimental to the happiness and spiritual health of all of us. Let’s learn to think before we respond to prejudicial feelings.

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