As Jesus and the Dozen, by which we now know means more than twelve, made their way from one place to another, a certain, again unnamed member of the group, had lagged behind and when all of the others were ahead of him, he called out in a loud voice, “Hey! Homo!”
Another member of the Dozen turned around to look more quickly than the others, after which his face reddened involuntarily, conditioned to sensitivity as he was by this taunt. Most of the others, many of whom did not even turn around to look, continued on their way after little more than fleeting looks of consternation passed across their faces. One of the Dozen mumbled weakly, “Leave him alone,” but there was no more than this.
The one at the back who had called out this mischievous and malicious slur laughed in a nasty way at the imagined cleverness of his own trick.
But Jesus, knowing who had shouted this comment, turned to the group, and when all had closed up behind him, he said these words as he held up three fingers:
“There are three kinds of people in the world: victims, bystanders and perpetrators.”
Peter counted on his fingers the three types of people, saying under his breath, “victims, bystanders, perpetrators…”
The Rabbi looked hard at all the group, and he paused briefly before saying while holding up two fingers, “No wait. There’s two kinds of people in the world: sinners and assholes, although some people can be both.”
Many of the men and women were taken aback by the Rabbi’s use of the word ‘asshole’ and the vehement way in which he had pronounced it. But before anyone could speak, the Rabbi held up one finger and said, “No wait. There’s only one kind of person in Heaven: the humble.”
The unnamed disciple who had begun all this with his hateful taunt ground his teeth as he hung his head after suffering a serious look of disapproval from the Rabbi.
Very late that evening, Jesus was apart from the group, praying alone, when one of the Dozen approached him and sat down beside him. Jesus nodded in welcome and waited for the man to speak.
“I am hateful to myself,” he said. After a short pause he continued, “I am hated by my own family, by my own people. I’m different from the others.” The pain in his voice was palpable and Jesus reached out and put his hand on the man’s shoulder.
Speaking in a low voice the Rabbi recited the words of the psalmist saying,
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!”
The man pondered the words of his Rabbi and finally said, “Thank you, Rabbi. You’re too good for the likes of us.”
“This teacher loves his students. You are no less than any of these others. The Almighty is G-d of all the living, not just those who think they own Him. Be at peace in your heart for you are loved by G-d.”
Greatly heartened by these generous words, the man found the strength to forgive his tormentor; but more to the point, he began to forgive himself for his own self-loathing.