AM I SEEKING TO PLEASE PEOPLE? 

October 3, 2022 – Monday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100322.cfm)

Do I do good to seek the affirmation of others? Do I do things for others in order to gain their recognition and acceptance? Our past experiences of rejections, not being affirmed, not being recognized and accepted by others, could give us the anxiety. In order to compensate what has been deprived from us such as our childhood need for acceptance, affirmation and recognition could become our hang-ups even when we are already a grown-up.

We would tend to please others by being good and kind, by doing any demands from others to us, by meeting every expectation from us just to gain their approval and affirmation. We could also display such attitude that would praise another person through our flattery words and extra attention given in order to seek to gain favor. Or, we could be more aggressive by directly demanding from others that we should be affirmed and recognized by soliciting such honor from others.

What St. Paul asked, “Am I seeking to please people?” sheds light on this attitude of the heart. Paul wrote to the Galatians and reminded them that his presence among them and his ministry to them in preaching the Gospel of Christ was not about seeking their attention or even to please them or any other person. The Galatians who after receiving the Gospel of Christ from Paul was about to seek the approval of Jewish Christians who demanded that the new Christians and not Jewish before should accept first the Jewish Law and its religious practices. Only then that the Galatians will be considered as good Christians and be accepted.

However, Paul did not agree with this. Such intention is a perversion of the Gospel. Faith in the Risen Lord is not about being able to please another culture and religious belief just to be accepted. The Gospel of Christ being received by Christians is not about pleasing another in order to be welcomed in the community. Faith in the Lord and the Gospel of Christ are the elements that constitute the life of a Christian.

This is what we have also heard in today’s parable in the Gospel of Luke. The Samaritan did not seek to please others but he did what he should do as a human person to another human person who was in need of help. Jesus used this parable in order to respond to the question of a scholar of the Law on what to do to inherit eternal life.

Thus, it is by being able to love God though our expression of loving one’s neighbor that we inherit eternal life. The good deeds, kindness and mercy that we do to a person in need is not about pleasing another but an expression of faith and devotion, of love and hope in God. To inherit eternal life is, therefore, also not about to please God in order to gain that favor but in showing mercy. Mere strict observance of religious practices and traditions could become our way of pleasing another like our flattery words and actions to another. If mercy does not flow from our religious traditions, prayers and devotional practices, then, these become our mere attitude of currying favors.

May our actions, our thoughts, our kindness, goodness and mercy shown to others be our expression of that love of God and not in simply seeking to please others. Kabay pa.

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