Be yourself always, not someone else!
A PARABLE ABOUT PRIDE AND HUMILITY
A newly commissioned Colonel had just moved into his office. A Private entered with a toolbox. To impress the Private, the Colonel said, “Be with you in a moment, soldier! I just got a call as you were knocking.’ Picking up the phone, the Colonel said, “General, it’s you! How can I help you?” A dramatic pause followed. Then the Colonel said “No problem. I’ll phone Washington, and speak to the President about it.” Putting down the phone, the Colonel said to the Private, “Now, what can I do for you?” The private shuffled his feet, and said sheepishly, “Oh, just a little thing sir. They sent me to hook up your phone!”
There has been and still is, so many people who like to impress others! I just love that little story as our Introduction to my realhomilie today. I could not stop laughing when a friend of mine sent this to me to have a read! But, so often the outcome is true……people get caught out on the spot which is the ideal response, but for others, they seems to get away with it for years and years. I am sure that we have all met people like this in all walks of life! I saw some of it at school among students and teachers. I have seen it in Business situations, I have experienced in within the Church, among clergy and Bishops, but I have never experienced it among the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea, which is to our tropical north of Australia. I have experienced the opposite to Pride and acting Posh, and demeaning of others, by the majority of people. Thank God!!!!
I personally find that people who just gloat on the fact of their high positions in Business, the Legal and Medical fraternity and the Clergy, and many other places within organisations, who totally bask in the glory of their honorific titles, and ceremonial attire to go with it, as well as making sure that all their Degrees are after their names; most of these people are totally boring and obnoxious, and the sad thing is, they often don’t know it!. Most of the time, they play their power games on others, and for me, they are not the kind of people who I would like to crack a bottle of Red Wine with, let alone share a Pizza Supreme, light and crispy; unless they came down to earth! I am not writing these people off as ‘worthless human beings’ but they are a bit of a challenge to deal with, and I have come to very serious and heated discussions with some of their elk! Lord, have mercy! Now after that Confession, if I was to close myself off to the possibility of positive conversation and celebrations with these seemingly arrogant and ‘full of themselves’ kind of people, I would be responding negatively to the Gospel invitation, and I would be wrong in reverse to the situation put before us in the Gospel today. I hope that I am making myself clear, because it seems a bit messy to me.
Today’s Gospel gives us a simple and practical example of two ways of coming before God, one is wrong, the other is right. Instead of saying, “Praise the Lord”, the Pharisee was saying, “Praise me, Lord.” When you come to think of it, how can we possibly hope to stand before God, and think that, somehow, we can hide, and cover up what we are really like? When we stand before God, we must open out the canvas of our lives fully before him. God knows us through and through, anyhow, and we should not insult him by practicing some sort of charade before him, and call that ‘prayer’.
To judge myself superior to others is ignorance; to boast to God about it, is arrogance. We are all children of God, and the most disabled person on this earth has as much right as the greatest genius. ‘The greatest in my Kingdom are the ones who serve’ says the Lord.
In showing us the two men who come before God in the Gospel, we are given a very clear distinction between their different attitudes, and we are forced to examine our own attitudes before God. Falling on our knees, and crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness, is not implying that we are worthless. Far from it. It is to tell it like it is, to face up to the truth, and thus, to be set free. Only God is perfect, and to come into the holy presence of the all-holy God, must show up a very glaring contrast. I guess that if there is ever a time when we have no choice but to be totally open and honest, it is when we stand before God at the moment of our death! No more hiding, no more games, no more pretenses, no more excuses. The Gospel invites us to examine ourselves right now. We can have a full dress rehearsal for such a meeting with God now; it is not one of those times to put off, otherwise we are sure to be caught by surprise!
Let us pray.
Lord, give us the humility not to hide our weakness, the wisdom to learn from our mistakes, and in facing life’s difficulties, let us know that your grace will be sufficient for us. We make this prayer through Christ Our lord. Amen.
Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/