Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the Gospel this weekend Jesus tells a parable as he noticed how people invited to a banquet were choosing the places of honor, giving this insight about those who wish to enter the kingdom of God: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
When we look at someone with hostile eyes, it means from the outset we are ill-disposed towards that person. Pride is a barrier to seeing reality accurately. Prejudices are blinding. We are looking for faults, and will be disappointed if we don’t find them. We don’t give the person a chance to prove himself or herself. We have already made up our minds. Even if we can’t find any fault with what he or she says or does, we can always cast doubt on his/her motives. We are not disposed to learn anything from that person because our hearts are closed…
Jodi was riding home on the subway, the man next to her was reading some papers and began talking to her about them. As she listened, he became eager to share his convictions with her.
Soon after, he started criticizing many dogmas of the Catholic faith, especially about Mary, the birth of Jesus and the Eucharist. “At first she was prepared to fight over it but she stopped herself — would arguing with him because she was angry resolve anything? St. Paul said, “See that no one returns evil for evil, always seek what is good both for each other and for all.” (Rm 12:17) She decided to simply hear him out without responding in anger.
So she just listened. When he said something misinformed about Catholicism, she would calm herself down and try to understand his viewpoint, listen and ask questions. She noted good qualities in him: his loyalty to his family, his search for truth, and his struggle to move ahead after he was released from prison
After about half an hour, he opened up and things became more at ease, even smiling at each other honestly. She felt she should let him know she was Catholic. He was shocked but they parted on good terms as he stepped out of the subway. As she got ready to leave the train a few stops later, a man who had been following the whole conversation caught her eye, smiled and nodded as if to give a thumbs up. She had felt through the conversation that God had touched both their hearts. Even in adversity, through others we can come to better know ourselves. Humility helps us to be sensitive to what is unpleasant for others and to be compassionate.
God Bless You,