Oct. 29, 2017 - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
How do people become mean? People who are violent, people who are angry, people who are mean, people who are bullies?
What happens inside a person to make that person so hateful, so twisted? I can’t believe that a person is born that way. God doesn’t make people that way.
Could it be that people become mean because they feel like they are in competition with others? Could it be that people are mean because they feel like they are less than and have to make others look worse to feel good about themselves?
People who feel a need to measure up, people who are jealous might become mean as a result of this perceived injustice.
They feel wronged and have to do something about it. Instead of improving themselves, they choose to tear others apart. After all, it’s easier.
I know of several priests and seminarians in our diocese who have been victims of this kind of attack. Someone in the church, a priest, a deacon, a seminarian, an employee has felt so threatened by that person that they actually made a real attempt to get rid of him.
In some cases character and reputation had been maligned so badly that the person had to appear before the bishop to try to defend himself against the attacks, all lies, completely fabricated, designed to destroy.
In many cases, though not all, the attacker has either eventually left the church or has been removed from ministry. And I promise you, that sort of behavior is not unique to the church.
Think about all the injustices at school or in the workplace. Think about all the injustices you’ve seen because someone was mean to someone else. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I don’t have to totally destroy a person to make myself look good. We don’t have to do that. We destroy ourselves in the process. It is better for me to work on myself rather than tear down someone else.
The Lord says in the Book of Exodus, you shall not molest or oppress, you shall not wrong the weak. If ever you wrong them and they cry out, I will surely hear them for I am compassionate, says the Lord.
If I am generous, I will receive generously from the Lord. If I am compassionate, I will be shown compassion by the Lord. If I am kind, the Lord will treat me with kindness.
If we practice these things, we become these things. This is what the Lord means when he says love your neighbor as yourself. It means we are called to live with charity in our hearts, kindness in our souls, and good thoughts in our minds.