Fight the exclusivistic tendency PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 June 2018 11:58

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

LET’S always remember that even in our best intentions and efforts, we can still be and do wrong. This can be illustrated in that gospel episode where an apostle told Christ that they forbade someone who was driving out demons in Christ’s name because that someone did not follow them, the apostles. (cfr Mk 9,38)

Christ immediately corrected him. “Do not prevent him,” he said. “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9,39-40)

Yes, we all have this tendency to be exclusivistic, a part of our wounded human condition. We tend to judge things using merely human or worldly standards. Our idea of unity and perfection often does not coincide with what God has meant for these ideals. We often mistake uniformity with unity and perfectionism with the perfection that comes from God and that is proper to us.

Besides, we also tend to stereotype people, to box them in, practically straitjacketing him as if that person cannot change for the better. We seldom give others second chances. We end up being stricter than God who always blends his strictness with mercy.

And again, we also tend to dogmatize what simply are matters of opinion and personal and class preferences. And so we end up being unnecessarily divisive among ourselves. This is not to mention that we often compare ourselves with others, and end up falling into petty envies, etc.

We need to broaden our mind and perspective, and to be generous, magnanimous and accommodating in our ways. There are things that we just have to look past, without getting entangled with them.

Christ himself wants us to love our enemies to the extent that we offer the other cheek once we get slapped in one cheek.

We should remember that we all belong to the one family of God, the one people of God. We are all brothers and sisters. We are obliged to love one another, and we should do it freely, without feeling forced.

We may have different roles to play, occupy different positions in society and have different conditions in life, but we all belong to the one family of God. We ought to do what our circumstances in life would dictate us, but that should not prevent us from respecting the others who may be different from us.

In fact, when we are faced with the unavoidable differences and apparent conflicts among ourselves, we should immediately try to find ways of how we can relate to the others. Our immediate thought and reaction should be that these differences are meant to enrich our life, to broaden our world and to bring us to the dynamic of complementation and supplementation among ourselves.

So, we should just be game and sport about this whole affair. This does not mean that there will be neither difficulties nor errors that can be committed. That would be naïve to think that way.

We just have to be discerning and consider things again in the presence of God who is the ultimate arbiter of what right and wrong, fair and unfair in our concerns.

But whatever it is, we should fight any trace of being exclusivistic. This is especially relevant to those who are privileged to have special vocations, charisms and spiritualities in life. Let’s remember that these privileges are meant for the edification of the whole Church. They are for the good of all, even if they engage in some specializations.

These specializations, which should be respected and promoted, should not blind us from our duty to know how the others are so that we would know how to work always in tandem with them. Every trace of exclusivity, no matter how slight, should be removed from our system.