Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?…”
They came forward and began to argue. What a day! It started off with a couple I met this morning. After Mass, they told me they loved my homilies because they were not as “spiritual” or “holy” as Fr. Paul’s, but much more down to earth. I don’t know how long it took for my smile to turn into a frown, but I’m sure it didn’t take long. Oh, well. I took it as a compliment.
Then in the afternoon I saw a young man I had counseled a while back, he ran up to me and told me, “Father, do you remember me? We spoke a while back. I had lots of doubts about God and Catholicism and I just wanted you to know that I am doing much better now. I’ve come back to the Church.”
“That’s great!”, I said. “I can’t remember what I told you but I’m glad it all worked out.”
“Well, it wasn’t necessarily anything you said. The points you made weren’t the greatest, but it got me thinking and praying again.”
I don’t know how long it took for my smile to turn into a frown. Oh, well. I just took it as another compliment.
Now there is something important I failed to mention in the above cases: all the individuals that came up to me wanted to argue with me, at least at the very beginning. They came up to me all defensive, angry or nervous. Thankfully, everything turned out just great. But we know this isn’t always the case.
Some people love to argue just for the sake of arguing. They simply want to be right and are not interested at all in getting to the bottom (truth) of the matter. Therefore, they have a hard time admitting their mistakes, even the most innocent of mistakes, and what would be obvious to all is never obvious for them. Take for example, the parable of the two debtors (Lk 7:40-43):
A Pharisee invited [Jesus] to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Did you catch the moment when Simon’s pride kicked in? It was when he said to the Lord, “I suppose.”
This tiny interjection is just pure and simple full-blown, overflowing, over-the-top pride. If Christ didn’t roll his eyes at that moment then He truly is the Son of God!
Now if you sometimes feel snubbed or slighted by others, then imagine what the Lord must feel? “Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.”
Like every good parent, the Lord could care less if He doesn’t get any credit in His children’s success stories. What’s most important to Him is their success, and He will remain behind them every step of the way.
Today, I realized something important. I don’t need to get credit for anything. If people can get something out of my homilies or conversations, then great! If they want to take credit for them, great! All the better. Their success if my success, which, in reality, is always God’s success.
God is like our sun. We may not think about Him often, but we sure would notice if He were suddenly gone.