Saturday, January 12, 2019
So Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by His journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Could I a drink of water.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (At that time, Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) – John 4:5-9
Devout Jews and devout Samaritans, separated from each other by way of long-standing resentment, and though, living in close quarters, also resentful of the other. So Jesus, a Jew, breaks a taboo and asks a Samaritan woman for a cup of cool water to quench His thirst. Did He no remember how the Samaritans collaborated with the enemy centuries ago? Did He not respect the honor tradition of His people? Did He not keep alive the ancient hostility? Whatever the answers to those questions this He now knew … all of this history had now devolved into prejudice.
Most prejudice is germinated from some experience in the past. Often a specific negative experience with a certain individual in a certain circumstance mutates into a generalized characterization of all people in a certain distinguishable subgroup of humanity. Other times, prejudice is something inherited without ever being questioned as either valid or still valid. Most times, prejudice is a warped way of making one self better than others. But Christ in a most casual encounter at a well … dismissed the folly and sinfulness of ethnic or class prejudice.
Christ offered His humanity to a fellow human soul, a human soul who understood the nature of thirst and of how thirst much be quenched. Then Christ communicated that He would no longer participate in this deeply set social prejudice. And then Christ drew her into sharing a common hope, the anticipation of a Messiah finally arriving.
I have found that prejudice is often practiced and affirmed by many of the zealous devout. And this prejudice is often assumed and embraced by many of the barely devout. It is a human frailty of our humanness, this penchant for harboring resentment even ancient resentment to the point where it becomes a societal bigotry.
But there are those who are deeply devout and humbly so, believers who have allowed their faith to more fully mature, who like Christ seek to end this lineage of prejudice by their no longer participating in its sinful madness.
Yes, my Loved Ones, I find prejudice is the creation of a festering resentment, a resentment that is often not even recalled.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Father Charitas de la Cruz