In the Lectionary

July 9, Ordinary 14A (Romans 7:15–25a; Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30)

I would have been embarrassed, downright ashamed to be associated with gluttons, drunkards, and sinners.

In one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he says, “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). Somehow these words have embedded themselves into my life of faith and my very being in a way that this week’s Gospel lesson has not.

As an Asian American woman who was born in the United States and grew up in the Bible Belt, I have been conditioned to be all things to all people— quietly, without attracting attention to myself. My parents are loving and supportive; they also upheld these cultural norms. The society around us often reinforced them, too.

So I grew up believing that my role was to accommodate everyone else, to please everyone else, and to live up to the myth of being the model minority—a myth created to oppress, control, and divide communities of color in this country. I got good at towing the party line, at following the rules and echoing back what teachers and leaders wanted to hear.