In our Gospel, we read the prayer Jesus offered the night before He died. It’s the longest prayer in the Bible. He says, “Father, Most Holy, protect them which You have given Me. I gave them Your word and the world has hated them for it. They do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but guard them from the evil one. As You have sent Me into this world, so I have sent them.”

This prayer tells us something about Jesus. It tells us He was a misfit. This might sound strange, even sacrilegious. We think of misfits as people who are emotionally unstable or socially disabled. They think everyone in their world is out to get them. Jesus was not like that. He had a healthy mind. His feelings were not easily hurt and He gave people the benefit of the doubt.

Yet the fact remains, He did not get along with everybody He met. He was not full of sweetness and light all the time. If that were the case, He would not have gotten Himself crucified. Many people saw Him as strange, even dangerous.

But Jesus firmly believed in the inherent value of and worth of every person. It may sound innocent and harmless, but in Jesus’ day, this caused trouble. Jesus loved at a time when Israel was controlled by Rome. As you might guess, Romans were hated. So what does Jesus do? He heals the sick servant of a Roman soldier.

Tax collectors were just as hated. So what does Jesus do? He befriends one, St. Matthew, and makes him an Apostle. The law said you were not to go near a leper. They were to live outside the camp. What does Jesus do? He reaches out, touches a man with leprosy and cures him.

The people at the time of Jesus stayed away from another group – the Samaritans. The animosity was extraordinary. So what does Jesus do? He speaks to a Samaritan woman at a well and goes back to their village to spend time with them. He even tells a parable called “The Good Samaritan.”

Jesus was a misfit because He never learned how to hate. There are still people who are outsiders; those who are unacceptable in our day and age. In some communities it’s still race against race or religion against religion. Haves against have-nots.

This prayer of Jesus is relevant to us today. He wants us to live in the world, but not live like the world. To affirm the inherent value and worth of every person. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, “Is there any person or group that I am forcing to live outside my camp?”

And if so, what would Jesus do?

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