Thursday, June 30, 2016
Why Do Idiots Upset Me?
I think I’ve been hearing or asking that question of myself most of my life. And of course one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that there are so many idiots everywhere. But not me, of course. I guess I’m just lucky.
But that part about being upset is what upsets me. There will always be idiots (terrorists, sinners, narcissists --- you can choose the name you prefer) and since there will always be idiots, I’m frustrated that (A) I can’t seem to find ways --- in love, of course --- to change them or to educate them to the truth, and/or (B) that I can’t get used to their existence.
As a Christian, I know (B) is not an alternative for me. I cannot and should not ignore sin, in its many forms. But that brings me back to (A), what to do.
These thoughts came to me because of the reflections I read on today’s Gospel (Mt 9:1-8) in the book The Better Part (Reflection #25). Today’s Gospel is about Jesus healing the paralytic, and saying “your sins are forgiven you” --- much to the concern of the scribes present.
While the book’s reflection on this Gospel included thoughts about the role of the paralytic, the scribes, and Jesus’ authority (and the words He used), it also included something eye-opening and heart-opening for me. In one section of the meditation the author focused on the people who brought the paralytic to Jesus.
Then some people appeared bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Some people? The author of The Better Part points out: “The paralyzed man was unable to come to Jesus on his own power. Others brought him to the Lord, and the Lord honored their selfless faith-filled deed. How many people whose souls are paralyzed by sin and doubt need the prayers and charity of faith-filled Christians to bring them into contact with Christ’s saving grace!”
And so I saw the response to my concern (A).
There were many more excellent, humbling words and prayers in this particular Gospel meditation, but I think the thing that hit me most was summarized in the quote at the beginning of the reflection:
We ought to pity and love our enemies rather than hate and detest them, for they heap up evils on themselves but deserve well of us; they provoke God’s anger against themselves…. We ought to pray for them. -- St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria