Prejudice and Humility

Matthew 13:54-58

Gn 1:26–2:3 / Ps 90

‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?’
(Matthew 13:54-55)

Let us exalt the humble worker

On this special day remember:

God, our Lord and Almighty Maker

Made Himself a lowly carpenter.

Coming to his hometown, Jesus began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13:54-58)

Reflection

Prejudice is one of the most subtle sins that many of us may not even be aware is creating a negative attitude towards those who do not share our beliefs or values, or have not had the privilege of education or spiritual formation. This is especially true among the so-called “privileged middle class” who are offended by the habits and lifestyle of the working class. My interest was caught by the comments of some readers responding to a news feature about an honest taxi driver who took the trouble to return the laptop and money that a passenger left in his cab. Although most of them commended the man’s integrity and example, a few commented that he only returned the package because the hotel where he picked up his passenger had his name and plate number. One even wrote: “Taxi drivers in Manila are all the same! They’ll rip you off all the time!” Now that is pure, uncalled for prejudice.

Today is the only day of the year when we honor the working class of the world. Let us celebrate this day by being a little kinder, a little more considerate, and a little more generous to all those who work hard not only to bring food to their families, but who make life a little better for us who do not have to do their “dirty jobs”. Today also happens to be the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. By honoring our workers we are also giving honor to this humble and peaceful carpenter, whose Son proudly took up his trade, and followed his example, and His Divine Father’s as a dedicated worker. In our First Reading, the book of Genesis tells us that God worked for six days, creating the universe, the earth and all its animals and plants, and man. Lest we dishonor God, the Supreme Worker of all creation, and His Son whose work led to our salvation, let us always honor all His children, the humble workers in our midst, and resolve never again to regard any of them with the slightest prejudice.

Remember, all of us are laborers, either in this world or for the kingdom of God. And most of us are specialists in the field or profession that God created us for. But none of us can boast about his expertise or proficiency, because our talents or abilities are gifts from God, our Creator. Nor should we look down on those whom we consider to be below our station. We all have a purpose to serve in this life, and in God’s eyes, we are all the same. Jesus has shown us, however, that whatever position we may have in life, it is in taking the path of humility that will lead us to His kingdom’s glory.

Teach us, Father God, to be humble in all our ways, so that as our Lord Jesus taught us, we may attain perfection according to Your will. Amen.

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