The Good Samaritan Among Us Today.
In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we see a collection of people following Jesus after he has multiplied loaves of bread and fish so they all had enough to eat. Jesus teaches them the truth about himself – that he is the bread of life. He instructs them to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Many of the people are horrified; the vast majority think it is too hard and they walk away. Only a few remain, believing in the words of Jesus.
On Monday, we reflected on the fact that some of us are privileged based on the identities we hold, whether because of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, and more. Grappling with privilege and marginalization, especially for those who are privileged, can be feel similar to the crowd’s response – a diversity of feelings may arise in us. These range from denial to anger to guilt to rage to shame and more. We may discount that we have privilege and instead blame the marginalized person, people or society at large. We may feel ashamed, guilty, or paralyzed, uncertain about what comes next.
If we are a person of color, woman, LGBTQ person, or Muslim, we may feel exhausted in managing the feelings of the person who is privileged. We may even feel discounted if the dominant person denies that our experience is valid.
Our Gospel invites us to consider the reactions of the people who heard Jesus proclaim that he is the bread of life. We are invited to connect that story to the experience of learning about privilege. In both accounts, what is spoken is a difficult truth that can be hard to believe, and is therefore prone to strong reactions. As you pray with today’s Gospel, imagine how Jesus may be inviting you to hear the truth of privilege, especially White privilege. Pay attention to your feelings and what Jesus might be inviting you to next.