Today’s Thoughts: The dangers of living out an arrogant self-importance life are captured in the readings from Job and today's Gospel from Luke. At first, I struggled to find a connection between these two readings, but after careful reflection it finally dawned on me. Satan’s challenge for God to test Job’s faith and the desire of the disciples to be ranked on personal greatness are two powerful examples of how the abuse of “ego” can easily divert one’s focus from God and his love.
The story of Job has been repeated thousands of times in the past but taking a different approach and interpreting the message from Satan’s perspective provides a new opportunity to shed light on another aspect of human nature. Job’s faith and devotion to God speak for themselves, but Satan’s obvious abuse of ego deserves attention. Satan accompanied the angels of the Lord with specific intent to place a challenge before God. His own ego could not bear witness to Job’s relentless faith to the Lord so he eagerly accepted God’s offer and exerted his devious will to bring Job harm, especially to his family and personal possessions. The result was treacherous but in the end Job ultimately wins God’s favor and thus defeats the misguided ego of Satan.
In the Gospel we find the disciples of Jesus, out of sheer stubbornness exerting their own egos of self-gratification, putting Jesus to test by questioning who is the greatest among them. As the story unfolds, we quickly learn that in the eyes of God personal humility is held to a much greater value than actively seeking public self-recognition and acclaim. In today’s world, humility of this nature seems highly impossible given the perpetual attention by TV and news media to endlessly advertise mundane gimmicks which promise to enhance personal appearances, wealth, and self-gratification. But where should our loyalties lie? In the eyes of humans, or in the message of faith and devotion as experienced by Job, and expressed by Jesus in his reaction to the disciples?
St. Thérèsa of Lisieux would say that our loyalties should always lie in the message of Faith!
Have a great Monday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...