Wednesday: 27th February, 2019
Reference text: Mark 9:38-40
Mark 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.”
One of the fairytales for children which I find rather beautiful is the story of the ugly duckling. Before writing this piece, I had to remind myself of the details of this story so I watched an animated version. It tells the story of a duckling who found itself being mocked for looking very different from the other ducklings. Consequently, all the other animals made fun of it.
One commented ‘have you seen anything this ugly? Seeing a creature this ugly in the morning will probably make my day as ugly’. Regardless of the mother duck’s view that one day this duckling would also be beautiful, while growing up, it lived a sad and alienated life being tagged as ‘NOT BELONGING’. The Gospel today just brought back scenes in this story rushing to mind especially when the disciples told Jesus: ‘our reason for stopping the man casting out demons was because he did not BELONG to our group.
We may be unaware but the words ‘you do not belong here’, have done and are still capable of causing great harm. It is a statement of absolute rejection because by pronouncing that verdict of ‘not belonging’, an unbridgeable chasm is created. My dear, to declare someone as not belonging with our words, attitudes and actions exhibited towards them communicates one fact ‘you are unsuitable to be accepted as one of us’.
And while we have the freedom to create our very own social capital by establishing the connections we please, who afforded us the right to claim who belongs and who doesn’t? Who are we to proclaim acceptance or rejection? In what capacity do we stand to create chasms between ourselves and others? Maybe we have misunderstood and taken literally the words of Saint Peter when he called us ‘chosen and set apart’.
Beloved, his words were not to disocciate from those who do not share what we believe, but to understand and live out those beliefs where we are. So in our dealings with other people, never create the impression that they have no place where you are; that they do not belong. If being all created in God’s image is not enough to belong, then what really is required to?