Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house."
People have a tendency to judge others, everything from their actions to their heritage. We presume to know something about someone based on where they are from or from something that happened in the past. In Sunday's gospel from Mark, we read about Jesus returning to his native place with his disciples and teach in the synagogue. The people there knew him from his upbringing, and his parents. They hear him teaching in the synagogue and were astonished. After all, they knew him as the son of a carpenter. In the eyes of the town, his family was probably of average means. So how can Jesus teach with such knowledge and authority? In fact, his words and style made them uncomfortable, so much so that they were offended and expressed it. He felt unwelcomed by those who he thought would welcome him, so…he left.
This teaching should resonate with most of us. How often do we pigeon-hole people because of where they are from? These are prejudices that rise up, not out of knowledge, but of ignorance. Somewhere along the line we related one action with another and suddenly the entire group is presumed to be that way….usually a negative connotation. We assume someone with little means cannot be smart, have a well-thought opinion or even no input on a subject. Because they are right out of college and don't know the 'real' business side of things, that they wouldn't have good input. Or the older employee doesn't have some good advice for the younger ones who have the bright ideas. Same can be said from where people are from or their skin color. So many times we judge before getting to know the person and really listening to what they have to say. We put up walls of prejudice before studying the situation in its proper context. Pray today for the wisdom to recognized stereotypes and judgments before harming others.