October 31, 2020 – Saturday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/103120.cfm)
Jesus must have been a very observant person. He noticed the attitudes of the people who were invited in an event. He saw how each one sought to secure for themselves places of honor at the table. If we would imagine, the guests must have been fighting to sit near the host since that would tell everybody that he is higher in status or more important than others. To occupy a place of honor is to insist that the person is entitled to it because of that status, or relation, or influence he has.
We must have heard or met people who demanded others to give them special treatment. Or we might be the very person also who seek to be given privileges and special recognition because of our status, successes and achievements, profession or degree, influence and wealth or because of our relation to someone who is important in the community, in our workplace, or organization or even in the Church. We fall into the temptation to be self-entitled just like the people Jesus was talking about, when we are filled with arrogance and self-importance.
Self-entitled persons are very demanding and think too highly of themselves. Thus, when we turn to be self-entitled we demand respect from others rather than earn respect. This is how we will become demanding in our relationships. Yet, we become critical of people around us and tend to only see the wrong in the other person. We will become stingy of our time and energy and ungenerous of our resources and presence to those who ask for our help. Most of all, we become indifferent to people around us and indifferent to God.
Thus, what Jesus also criticized and called for conversion is the “indifference” among self-entitled persons. Because of their self-importance and demand to be respected, a self-entitled person becomes indifferent to what others feel and to what others need. What is more important for a self-entitled, is self-satisfaction and recognition from others.
Jesus warns us, anyone who exalts himself will be shamed because God does not favor a self-entitled. A self-entitled person is hated in the community. We may be praised because we demand it, but we are despised because we are truly not deserving. God, rather, takes delight with the humble because the humble connects and relates with others, with sincerity and honesty.
Thus, God exalts the humble because of the awareness of the person of his needs and shortcomings. May we grow, then, in humility and get rid of any form of self-entitlement in our hearts. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR