When do we feel superior?
In this week's gospel we hear Jesus tell the well known parable of the prodigal son. At the end of the story we are introduced to the prodigal son's brother, who, rather than wasting the family's resources, has been working diligently on the farm for all the years his brother has been gone. In the final act of the story, the brother confronts his father with indignation about how his brother has been received. He righteously declares:
'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!'
This week, let us remember that the son is not alone in his righteous indignation, believing himself to be superior simply because of who he is and how he lives his life. Each of us carries some degree of this same sentiment of superiority, sometimes in big destructive ways and sometimes in smaller, subtler ways.
This week, pay attention to the ways in which your own feelings of superiority, whether they be based in racialized identity, ethnicity, wealth, class, education, beliefs, or any other parts of your identity, are keeping you from relationship and connection. Who are you alienating yourself from for the sake of your own superiority? Who, in your mind, is beyond redemption? How is this keeping you from the kin(g)dom of heaven today?