Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?
It happens more often than it should by chance. I settled in to listen to the homily at Mass this evening and it nailed me exactly. The homily was based on Mark 7 and was about determining what was big stuff and what was little stuff and concentrating on the big stuff. Scribes and Pharisees wanted to debate about cleansing pots and washing hands before you eat and Jesus talked instead about what’s in your heart being more important. I was still fussing in my heart about how to set a woman straight who had condescended to me and “felt sorry for me” at the Red Hat dice game because I hadn’t won a round. To me someone saying “I feel sorry for you” is fighting words! Was I Christian to her? Heck no; I barely restrained myself from punching her out. Did I thank her for her charitable impulse and redirect it? Heck no. I was too busy thinking don’t you dare look down on me. So this Scripture and this homily just happen to hit me three days later; ouch! I get it! Enough already! Then on the other hand, on this day in 1904, Helen Keller graduated from Radcliffe, the first deaf blind person to graduate from college anywhere. Now that’s big stuff! Wonder what she said when people said they felt sorry for her.