This excessive drive and desire to be somebody else other than Christ, is inherently in us. It happens mostly, though, to those who desperately long for human approval. For example, under peer pressure, a Catholic teenager will join a gang/group simply for acceptance even if it’s engaged in violent activities, immoral actions and devilish practices. Similarly, an adult Christian might remain silent, play safe, hide one’s identity and stay neutral in matters of morality in order to fit in, often adapting the lifestyle and ideology of a modern pagan. In a serious attempt to win the praise of others, we spend a heck of a lot of time imitating sinful and wicked behavior mainly to stand out, seek popularity and be seen by many. In the ebb and flow of religious life, there is no exception to this crucible need for recognition. What is sad about this whole she-bang is that the dignity and worth of a person depends a great deal on what others think about him/her and no longer what God desires and what the church teaches.
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18, stresses an important requirement in living a genuine Christian life, ‘Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.’ It highlights the notion of performing actions without regard for reward. Repeatedly, Jesus presents a real challenge that we must come to a decision to put our heart and soul, do the best we can in carrying out our responsibilities as Christians, right in this place and hour, all for the Glory of God and not for self-aggrandizement.
Feeling dazed and starving to death after a three-hour flight from NYC and an hour of lay over at Dallas Fort-Worth before finally taking off to Tucson, I decided to grab a sandwich at TGIF. It was Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Hard to miss! So, I sat in the bar next to a gentleman, realizing with great surprise and disbelief, he’s been married for 30 years now and counting. That’s what happens when you’re having fun, I said. I hope we have the same attitude as that man bursting with enthusiasm and intent on his responsibilities. He was unaware he was talking to a Catholic Priest who might use his story in the homily. Unless I put on the roman collar, I can’t expect anyone to recognize me. I may have not the aura but I have the alma. Amen.