Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are you a stepping stone or a tripping stone for someone you know? - Daily Reflections February 3,2016

Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. I do not fully subscribe to it, for there are cases I know where familiarity leads not to contempt, but towards full acceptance. Family members, for one, are very familiar with one another. They grow in unity, in affection, in concern for each other, and in mutual responsibility.
       The opposite of acceptance is rejection, and rejection of someone, whether familiar or not, is something that anyone can freely decide to do. Rejection, per se, is not a fruit of over-familiarity. It comes from dislike, from a certain bias against a person, or active hatred for that person.
       Today’s Gospel passage from Mark has a significant line: “And they took offense at Him.” From the context, it sounds almost like asking themselves, “How could He do such things when He is no different from the rest of us?” They were scandalized — that is, unable to go beyond their prejudgments and accept His teachings and actions. But there is an even sadder line: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”
       A “skandalon” is a tripping stone, a block that stands in one’s way. It hampers one’s otherwise smooth journey. It prevents one from freely reaching his or her destination with ease, comfort and speed.           
       Preachers and public speakers like me know that audience sympathy contributes a lot to efficacy in their homilies or talks. People who only want entertainment will not find a serious homily or talk acceptable, while those who expect to hear what they want to hear will not find the topic interesting if it does not touch on what they expect.
       But we know the full story. The Lord fulfilled His mission despite the rejection. He did not just cure the sick by the laying on of hands. He actually laid down His life for you and me and them — yes, including those who did not accept Him. Instead of a tripping stone, the Lord became a stepping stone for us on our way to fullness of life and salvation. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you a stepping stone or a tripping stone for someone you know?
Let me be a stepping stone to the people You bring into my life, Lord. Amen.

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