1st Reading: Acts 11:19-26; Psalm: 87. R. v. Ps 117:1a; Gospel: Jn 10:22-30
THE EVIL OF PREJUDICE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Claims can only be authenticated by evidence. In the absence of evidence, our claims become a mere hypothesis. But when there are sufficient evidences to substantiate a claim, the persistence of doubt becomes a clear sign of prejudice. Prejudice separates us from reality, from one another, and from God. It is a learned behaviour and its underlying cause is hatred, pride and insecurity. If for instance I say: “All bats are black” and tomorrow discovers a white bat which disproves my initial hypothesis; I will become a prejudiced person if I am unwilling to change my initial hypothesis based on the evidence presented before me. So prejudice is the unwillingness to revise our original opinion when presented with evidence to the contrary.
Jesus did not only claim that he was God. He proved this by his miraculous deeds. Deeds that was extraordinary and unprecedented in history. His teachings were divinely inspired as have never been heard before. His wisdom and style of teaching was beyond something learnt in any school. He fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophets about the coming Messiah. He received every possible provocative antagonism and was gentle still. Yet, with all these evidences, some set of Jews refused to accept or believe that he was the Messiah.
Can we see how prejudice can make us so impenetrable? When we hate a person due to some preconceived ideas whether true or false, we can never be humble enough to learn anything from that person. Even when such a person exudes clear signs enough to disprove our initial knowledge of him/her, we will still see ourselves struggle to accept that contrary. The cause of this is usually inner hatred. There are some persons who due to some life devastating experiences have come to see God as cruel and unjust. Some also hold this against people whom they feel were not kind enough to them. If we can shake off these prejudices, perhaps we can see clearly and better understand that what we hold before as truth was actually coloured by sadness and hate.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help our unbelief and increase our faith in you. May we not be blinded by prejudice as we relate with one another daily. Amen.