God loves me anyway
Addressing the people, Jesus gives a clear model on how actions must speak of a deeper reality. Criticising the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus calls attention to the difference between their preaching and their actions; encouraging the people to do what they tell them, and to listen to what they say, but not to follow their example. The scribes and Pharisees follow their own rule; they act as if they have all the answers, their actions are for their own gain, winning the attention and admiration of others, in order to be singled out. For them it’s all about having the externals right, the dress, the appearance, the superiority complex. But Jesus tells the people that this is of little use if the heart is not humble. If your faith is not reflected in your concern and care for others, then all is superficial wrapping.
To live as the scribes and Pharisees is to live a life full of pride, only concerned with one’s self and with no thought for others. We are called to act humbly. Humility is something which can also be misinterpreted. It is not a state whereby we belittle ourselves and drag our “miserable” selves through life hoping God may pity us. True humility does not exclude us from acknowledging our giftedness or talents and indeed from using them. It is not about going through life with a ‘look of crucifixion’ on our faces.
We are called by God to live in his Love. And this means to live humbly, to live not of and for ourselves but to know that we have faults and failings, that we are not perfect, and to recognise that at times we need help.
Humility means not being so full of our own importance so that when trouble comes our way, we can ask for help. And likewise, with pride we can become so self absorbed that we have little patience and tolerance for those we deem to be weak and imperfect. Humility allows us to see our need for help and gives us the courage to ask for it, from God and those around us. It sets us free, we don’t always have to know the answer, and we don’t always have to be the best. We are free, because in humility we know that despite us not being perfect, God loves us anyway. Thus we are able to focus that love in being with others, as a help and support. We are free to come before this great God, who loves us, and ask for his forgiveness and for his help, knowing that he will not dismiss us but embrace us in love.
Fr. Mark Condon