REJECTION BY SOME PROVIDES FOR ACCEPTANCE BY OTHERS - 20th Sunday Year A
Many relationships among people take place because others have rejected the same relationships. People form new friendships, new work partners, and new families. At some time or another everyone experiences being rejected by others. Often the experience, painful at the time, leads to being accepted by others. Such acceptance may not have been possible without the rejection. The new relationships formed may even be better. This is especially true if the one or ones rejected were doing the will of God. “Observe what is right, do what is just, for my salvation is about to come, my justice about to be revealed.”
Priests and ministers have these kinds of experiences rather frequently. When one person or a group or family no longer needs, rejects, or is not ready for what is offered, the wise priest or minister respects their freedom and sees a sign, even a grace, from God that they are to spend their time and ministry on others. And of course there are always more people and needs that can be met. If no one rejected the gospel or the messengers, fewer people would receive the Good News. Have you ever wondered who or how many people rejected the Gospel or some messenger that provided for you to receive it?
People rejected in one field of work are lead to do another kind, which leads them to greater growth. If rejection had not taken place, they may never have considered the work they were lead to do. Rejections can serve as signs for us that something better is going to happen to us. It’s only in the passage of time that we realize some rejection or unfulfilled opportunity, which was viewed by ourselves and others too as a tragedy or failure, was the best thing that could have happened to us.
Often, media interviews show this reality working in the lives of successful people. In response to a question such as “How did you get started in this work?”, they often respond, “I started out to do…but it didn’t work out because… and so I found this opportunity and need…, and ended up in my present work…which I’m happy with.”
The gospel recognizes this principle of rejection by some leading to opportunity and acceptance by others, and tells the bearers of the good news, if they or their message are
rejected to simply turn and give attention to others. Rejection, for whatever reason, may be a disguised message from the Lord that you are being called to be with another person or group. This is an important principle of life. When rejection is clear and certain, and it’s clear you are not going to be able to do anything for some, or they for you, the time to move on to others has come.
Jesus followed this principle in his earthly life. It’s clear in the New Testament that He saw His primary mission to be to the Old Testament Chosen People from whom He, the Messiah, had come in fulfillment of the prophecies and covenants. The mission to the non-Hebrew or Gentile peoples and nations would be carried out more by the disciples down through the ages through His successor, the Holy Spirit. “My mission is only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel,” he said to the Canaanite woman who wanted Him “to cure her daughter suffering from a demon”. But because of the woman’s acceptance of Jesus, she received what she wanted. “Woman, you have great faith! Your wish will come to pass.”
For many of the Israelites, Jesus was not able to meet their needs because of their rejection or lack of faith. As that happened, Jesus was to move on to other villages. The rejection by some meant acceptance by others.
St. Paul, who first rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and later accepted Him, had many experiences himself of rejection and acceptance. He reminded the Israelites that their rejection of Christ meant acceptance by the Gentiles. “In as much as I am the Apostle to the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry…, the Hebrews’ rejection has meant reconciliation for the world”. He recognized that what people reject at one point in their life, they may accept at another time. Read the deeper signs of rejection!
Rejection can mean an opportunity for acceptance by others, which is not to be