Grace to you!
Did you observe that many times, your greatest critics are your people? Many times, the
most dismissive of your achievements or contributions are those who know your background pretty well. As the saying goes, "familiarity brings contempt."
A speaker joked that a consultant hired within 50 miles of the hiring organization is underrated. If the hire is from 50 miles or more away, everybody welcomes the person as a renowned expert. How true this is today and how true it was during the time of Jesus.
The Lord Jesus had preached and performed many miracles outside of his town. He had thousands of followers, including those who marveled at his words. Many confessed that no one matched his wisdom and eloquence. When he came to his hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6), people rejected him. Or at least many were dismissive of him. It wasn't because his words were less profound. They marveled at his words. Instead, they judged him based on his family lineage. His father and mother didn't go to Ivy League schools. His relatives didn't belong to any of the elitist class either. He didn't have any clout. Therefore, they weren't giving him the acknowledgment due to his groundbreaking impact.
In essence, in my opinion, their problem was envy and jealousy. It was also deep-seated prejudice and lack of openness, which prevented the people from looking beyond their biases. Often, people confuse wisdom with family or educational background, but the two aren't necessarily the same.
What I may call unreasonable appeal to authority could be a stumbling block to discovering the truth. It happens when we accept something simply because of the credentials of who said it as if to say wisdom lies in certificates alone. A professor friend of mine calls it academic demagoguery. Because so and so person from this top university or corporation said it, it must be true, is the death of real liberating knowledge.
The truth is the truth, irrespective of who said it. Just as what is false is false even if it came from the mouth of Albert Einstein.
To be sure, knowledge is power. It is also cumulative. It builds upon one another, depending on how many ideas with which one has dialogued. Those ideas may come from books, articles, one-on-one interactions, and other educational resources, such as going to school. Advanced degrees equip one for a deeper level of dialogue with these ideas, or more effective methods and methodology of enquiry. Indeed, a person of one hundred books is better than a person of one book. The Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, once cautioned against the man of one book.
May we not be blind to the wisdom that comes from the humble, the pure, the simple-hearted. Wisdom comes from unexpected sources too. God "exalts the humble and humbles the arrogant
" (Mt 23:12).
Judging people based on what their words and actions are and not merely because of where they come from is a good practice. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the excellence of judging people on the content of their character too. By so doing, we will be enriched by the wisdom from the unexpected, from the pure. The Lord Jesus is the epitome of that wisdom. He grants it to anyone who notices that God goes on working even in the simplest things in life.
I pray for the grace of discernment. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Week 4: 2 Sm. 24:2,9-17; Mk 6:1-6]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.