Prejudice is nothing new. People have discriminated against each other since the beginning of time. Proof is in the Gospel. The Samaritans were prejudice against Jesus because He was on His way to Jerusalem. The Jews had shut the doors on the Samaritans and now it was their turn to get even.
“Do unto others as they have done unto you.” Is not the original “Golden Rule”—but a vengeful misinterpretation. Getting even with those who have harmed us goes against everything that Jesus came to teach. Unfortunately not being hospitable didn’t go out of style with the Samaritans. Closing the door on someone is a sin. Would the Samaritans have acted so rudely if they had known that they were shutting the door on God? Would any of us ever shut the door on Jesus? Fact is that is what we do when we shut the door on anyone—regardless of who they are—even if we call them our enemy. Every person is the incarnation of Christ. When we come to Church all differences should be left outside, especially within a family. Every family has their share of problems. At times disagreements can flare up tempers. Once we come past the Church doors—the fight needs to stay outside—in the hope that Holy Mass will heal the hurts. We all have the potential to hurt one another. However, we come here for healing—not to add insult to injury. Jesus made a special reference about when we bring our gift to the altar and realize that we have something against a person—to leave the gift and go first to be reconciled, then come offer the gift. In other words, we have no business in Church when we have a grievance against someone. Coming to Church should be like a “time out” with the world. We are given the opportunity to look at ourselves—our fragile selves—in order to improve. The Eucharist is one of the Sacraments of healing because we sit at Table with each other. None of us want to eat with people we don’t like.
We cannot change the past, but we can make the present a little more peaceful in order to face the future with a renewed spirit. The majority of our problems are behavioral. Bad decisions, mistakes, wrong turns. None of us are perfect, although the temptation is to think that we are. Everybody limps; all of us have sins; we are all in need of redemption. That’s what unites us—that we are Church of sinners. Yet, we still look down our noses at others, even during Holy Communion. Judgment does not belong to us. Consider the abomination that happened in Florida. Taking innocent lives can never be justified.
The disciples wanted to kill the Samaritans. They were so angry that the door was shut on their face that they wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume them. Anger at its best—when we want to see someone burn alive. That’s how people use to kill witches, by burning them alive. Ever been so angry that you want to see someone fry? Ever been so angry that you wish someone dead? The disciples were. They weren’t accustomed to rejection by the people whom they had rejected. Jesus put a stopper on their emotions. Emotions can get the better of us—to the point where we stop being rational. Obviously the disciples had to learn a lesson on self-control. Jesus had a better plan—“Love your enemies, don’t destroy them.” Takes discipline to control our anger, particularly when we think we are right and everybody else is wrong. If we want to follow Jesus then we have to be like Him. The Lord could have destroyed His enemies. He chose the way of the cross. He chose the will of the Father. The love of God for humanity is greater than all our sins put together. That’s why we come to the Eucharist—to be nourished with the Food of forgiveness. Eating Jesus will help us to become more like Him.
We want to leave the Church a better person than when we came. The Lord can soften our heart.