All reports are that Jesus is doing marvelous things. Sick people are being cured, demons are being expelled and sins are being forgiven. The day finally arrives and he returns to the place of his childhood. Certainly the town would be excited upon his return, honored to have their native son growing up to be a man who is doing tremendous good. In fact, just the opposite happened. He was met with disparaging remarks, suggesting that his humble beginnings as a carpenter’s son could never have led to accomplishing such wondrous deeds. Instead of appreciation and gratitude, the Gospel says the people “took offense at him”. Rather than being greeted with embraces and an openness to what he could do for them, he was imprisoned by the arrogance of his hometown people with the consequence that “he was not able to perform any mighty deed there (Mark 6:1-6).
This story can serve as an invitation for us to see where we might be imprisoning others with our own arrogance. Who do we hold with little esteem because of what we have heard about them, or because of where they are from, who their family members are, what their occupation is, the level of their education, their religious background? No matter what someone’s virtues, abilities or accomplishments may be, they are the prisoners of our own bias, prejudice and arrogance. In our eyes, they have nothing to offer us.
This Independence Day weekend offers a great opportunity for us to ask who might be the prisoners of our arrogance. Perhaps it is time to liberate ourselves from our own closed mindedness thereby allowing the goodness of others to affect our lives. Being free of our own arrogance is a step toward liberating a world often imprisoned by the arrogance of individuals, groups and nations. Even though his efforts were met with resistance, Jesus moved forward in his ministry of healing and reconciliation. Freed of our own arrogance, we are set to do the same.