First Reading: Tb 12:1. 5-15. 20; Psalm: Tobit 13. R. 1b; Gospel: Mk 12:38-44
BEWARE OF EMPTY PRAISES
FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at feasts.” (Mk 12:38-40).
There are several reasons why people pursue academic degrees and success. For some persons, it is not the knowledge acquired or the amount of wealth amassed that matters to them but the adulation they enjoy from their achievements. Some people just love to be praised to feel more important than others. It is as if their sense of importance is tied to their successes or achievements. If they are not extolled or if their academic degrees are omitted while being introduced in a gathering, they feel undermined and offended.
Jesus warns us today to be mindful of this tendency. In fact, Jesus used the word ‘Beware’ which alerts us to avoid something because of the danger it portends. Self-aggrandisement puts us first in everything and can make us lose that consciousness that God should always be given the first place. If we remembered that God should always have the first place in our lives, then we will have to shun every craze for self-aggrandisement and pay more attention to selfless services. The narrative of the widow’s mite also illustrates that God appreciates those who give him the first place by total self emptying.
We can re-evaluate today where our sense of importance lies. Is it in our achievements or in our faith as Christians? Do we feel sadder when we do not receive the praise of men than when we offend God? Jesus tells us today that our priority should be the total self-giving of ourselves to God in service to humanity and not empty praises. God is glorified in our work when our services are altruistic. But when we depend on the praises of men as the stimulant to do what is required of us, we take the glory due to God.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, teach us to serve and to always give you the first place in every choice we make. Amen.