Partiality means to choose a piece, a part over the whole, to show preference for one aspect of something over another. This line from the beginning of Paul's letter to the Romans has always jumped out at me. Paul is reminding the small, struggling Christian community in Rome that God does not care if we are “Jew or Greek [Gentile], male or female, slave or free.” It doesn't matter to God because it’s not about who we are now, or who we were before. It's about who we become in Christ Jesus.
Our culture is obsessed with partiality: we want our children to be gifted and talented, have the best teachers and coaches, and be taught separately from the average children; we want them to go to the best schools. We prize information that rates the best and worst colleges and the best and worst cities and towns to live in, and the best and worst of everything else from cars and microwave ovens to movies and music. Entire industries do nothing but rate one thing over another. This is useful when we need a new washing machine, but we can never let this mindset extend to how we see people. This is not how God sees his creation.
All of us are invited to the Lord's banquet - the broken and the forgotten along with the best and the brightest. All are called to share in the divine revelation of God's healing love as experienced through the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Paul is making sure we understand that our tasks as Christians are to be living witnesses to this profound truth.
This reflection is from A Still More Excellent Way by Joseph Durepos.
Books by Joseph Durepos
A Still More Excellent Way
How St. Paul Points Us to Jesus
A Still More Excellent Way, edited by Joe Durepos, is an excellent resource for the Pauline Year. Readers are introduced to the wisdom of St. Paul through the apostle’s writings.
The Grandeur of God
Selections from Two Thousand Years of Catholic Spiritual Writing
Wisdom from the greatest spiritual writers of the two-thousand-year Catholic tradition.
Go in Peace
A Gift of Enduring Love
The best-selling distillation of the great pope’s most personal and inspirational thoughts.