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Friday, February 19, 2016

Do you tend to compare yourself with others? What motivates you to do that? - Daily Reflections February 19,2016


RIGHTEOUS LIKE THE SCRIBES?
 
Nobody loves to compare, but there are times when it is good to gauge oneself and one’s position relative to someone else, not to outshine others, but to outdo oneself. Benchmarking is not a bad thing. Using others as standards for one’s improvement is not deadly but healthy competition.
       The Lord Himself today makes use of such a negative comparison for a higher purpose. He challenges us to rise above and beyond the shallow, merely external standards of righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees.
       Having been an educator for many years, I see minimalism and its effects almost every day. Postmodernity has forced upon us the culture that says less is more. The passion for excellence has been supplanted by mere attention to the good, the passing and the acceptable. The passage from good to great no longer catches the fancy of most people in our times. Why work so hard for something you could get for much less effort?
       The Scribes and the Pharisees were, by no means, bad people. They were actually respectable in their own right. They were relatively well-educated, well-read and well-esteemed by the people around them. They were real experts in the law.
       But the problem is not that they were learned. The problem is more like because they were stagnant in their misguided sense of accomplishment. In a very real sense, they never got beyond the level of earning a diploma that was good only as a wall accent piece.
       The Lord calls us to more, not less. Righteousness that spells only conformity with external rules does not make the cut. The holiness that we are called to begins some place, and that is from the inside out, not the other way around. Christian holiness is, first of all, holiness from deep within.
       “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed,” says the Lord, “and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONs: Do you tend to compare yourself with others? What motivates you to do that?
 
Help me to believe in my uniqueness, Lord. Banish all envy and misguided sense of accomplishment in my heart. Amen.

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