By Sharon Wilson
Have you ever met someone famous? Did you treat them differently than the people you have known for years?
In today’s gospel, Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)
In my work with WINE: Women in the New Evangelization, I have met some really cool people. Some would say they are famous people, but we jokingly call it “Catholic famous,” because the Catholic world is small. I’ve met Teresa Tomeo of EWTN and Kitty Cleveland, who shares her amazing voice at Catholic conferences all across the country. I work with Kelly Wahlquist and many other authors and speakers.
But here is the coolest thing about this circle of women involved with WINE: we have a spirit of unity that exalts everyone’s gifts.
Barb Schleicher, who coordinates these blog posts, is honored in her gifts, as is Sarah Damm, who coordinates marketing, and Linda Harmon, who handles our accounting. These women are not “famous” by worldly standards, but they play essential roles in the WINE ministry. I am honored to know them.
It can be easy to be “star struck” by “important” people until we change our definition of important people.
A few years back during Lent, instead of giving up chocolate, I gave up comparing myself to others. It was an interesting time for my personal growth. This year, I decided to give up comparing others to others. Comparing one cantor at Mass with another or one coworker’s gifts to someone else doesn’t allow me to see them as God sees them. By not comparing the attributes of one person to another, I have been able to find the unique gifts that each person brings to this world.
It is easy to fail to see the gifts in the people you see every day or people you live with. I wonder if I would have missed Jesus’ teaching had He been the guy who lived down the street or the kid I rode the bus with while growing up. Would I have discounted Him because I could only remember Him as a toddler or focus on His dirty sandals and not His great love?
One result of this exercise of focusing on each person’s gifts is that it has caused me to reflect on why it is so easy to discount others’ abilities or focus on comparing. Most often I think it is my own insecurities speaking. Will I fail to see the prophet in my neighbor, because I am trying to exalt myself?
For a day, a week, or the rest of Lent, try giving up comparing people and focus instead on the unique gifts each person brings. You may find a prophet in your own town or even your own home.