Selfishness and pride


The story is told of a farmer who approached a nurse at a hospital and asked her to treat the wound on his foot. The nurse arrogantly said: “How dare you ask me to do that! Don’t you know who I am? I am the head nurse of this hospital!” The farmer humbly replied: “Sorry, Ma’am. Can you refer me then to the foot nurse of this hospital?”

* * *

In today’s gospel (John 13: 31-33, 34-35), Jesus tells us to love one another as He has loved us. Our arrogance and pride prevent us from truly loving one another. Our selfishness and greed, if unbridled, can make us use, abuse, manipulate, control or simply hate one another. Selfishness and pride are the two biggest monsters we need to tame in our lives.

* * *

Being talented or being materially blessed is not a problem. The problem is when these blessings or talents go to a person’s head. The other problem is when these blessings and talents are not shared. The bottom line is stewardship. Yes, we are not the sole and absolute owner of life. We are accountable to Someone greater than us. May we not lose sight of the fact that we have received more than we have achieved in this life.

* * *

I thought this was something that happens only in novels or in movies. Recently I visited a relative in the United States. He is a “self-made” man who had worked so hard, and had saved so much, and became a multimillionaire. Now 84 years old, he lives alone in an eight-room mansion. Not a relative, or even a caregiver or a driver, is with him. He is very frugal, and he trusts no one. A very rich man living as a “poor” man in the twilight of his life. How sad—all because of selfishness and pride.

* * *

“Use your money for your salvation, not for your condemnation.” We hear this advice many times and yet, we don’t heed it because of our selfishness and pride. Such is the fate of some people who hold on to dear life which they cannot prolong, and forget eternity which they cannot escape. It is always good to remember that we are dust, and to dust we will return.

* * *

Someone once said that angels can fly, not because they have wings, but because they carry no burdens. People who travel light are people who set aside their personal baggage, so that they can reach out and help others who are in need. As long as we are focused on our personal agenda, or burdens (“consomisyon”), we are not able to do our mission.

* * *

It took so many years, and finally forgiveness came, and she was free to love again. I rejoiced and praised God when a friend whom I have not seen for some time told me that she had finally forgiven her husband who abandoned the family when their children were still young. It was a long journey, marked with confusion and darkness, but by God’s grace she finally surrendered everything and received the Lord’s healing. We must not let pride destroy or deprive us of true peace. Humility is the key to many of our problems and conflicts within.

* * *

Politicians are now going around, wooing our people for votes. May they not forget Jesus’ word today: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Please take note: You are public servants, not public masters, called to serve, not to use and abuse our people.

* * *

“This is how all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Who shall we vote for? Don’t vote for those who have money for you. Vote for those who have integrity and true service for you. Sad to say, by and large money has become the bottom line for our elections. Careful, careful! Moneyed politicians will have more money from us in the years to come.

* * *

Soon it will be the beautiful month of May! Inviting you again for our biennial “Walk with God” to Manaoag on May 4, Saturday, starting from the cathedral at Urdaneta, Pangasinan, at 5 a.m. and ending with a 9 a.m. Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag. Let us make this 13-kilometer, 3-hour walk to seek the Lord’s blessing for our country through the most powerful intercession of Mama Mary!

* * *

Here is a beautiful prayer I read somewhere: “Father in Heaven, I choose to hold my peace. I choose to do the right thing even when wrong things are happening. I trust that you are fighting my battles for me. I give you all the honor and praise in Jesus’ name.” Amen!

* * *

May 1 is Labor Day. We remember and honor our workers who do a lot of legwork for this country to move on. They are the “foot soldiers” who sweat it out to make a living, unlike many of our so-called heads or leaders who make us sweat, for them to enjoy a life of comfort and luxury. Mabuhay  ang  mga  manggagawa  ng  Pilipinas!  Maglaho  ang  mga  magnanakaw  ng  Pilipinas!  (Long live the workers of the Philippines! Be gone, thieves of the Philippines!)

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, free us from selfishness and pride so that we can truly serve and love. Amen.

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Tags: Fr. Jerry Orbos , opinion

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