Beware of our bad reactions to things

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We are now in Holy Week. And the gospel of the Mass for Monday of Holy Week (cfr. Jn 12, 1-11) speaks of how Judas, the traitor, reacted badly when Mary, the sister of Martha and the resurrected Lazarus, anointed the feet of Christ with an ointment of great price.

“Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” he said. And the gospel noted that he said this not because he cared for the poor, but rather because he was a thief, and having the purse used to steal the contributions.

This somehow validates the theory that one thinks and judges the way he is. If he is a good person, he will always think well of others even if the others may have committed some mistake. Like Christ, he will correct, suggest, help the others in a charitable way. If he is not a good person, he tends to think badly of others.

Some time ago, Pope Francis received a lot of flak even from those who are usually regarded as close to the Church, when in an interview he was asked how he “imagines hell.” The Pope gave a short response: “What I am going to say is not a dogma of faith, but my own personal view: I like to think of hell as empty; I hope it is.”

Some people are suspicious, if not accusing Pope Francis of changing Church doctrine, especially about the difference between morality and immorality. They think that he is going overboard and even is crossing the line already in his pursuit to promote Christian mercy. His views on the divorced and remarried people and those in same-sex union drew a lot of criticism.

But the truth of the matter is that the Pope simply expressed a wish, a desire. It may not be true, but no one can stop a person from thinking well of the others and of things in general. After all, we are meant to think well rather than to think badly of others and of things in general.

In that gospel episode about Mary and Judas, Christ told the latter to let Mary to do what she did, because she did well in doing so, since after all, the poor we will always have but we do not have Christ all the time. It’s like saying that we will always have sinners, but we just have to give priority to seek and receive the mercy of God who will always give it to us.

We should try our best that we give priority to keep our relationship with God going strong, and anything that would enhance that relationship should be encouraged. Thus, we can never overemphasize the need for us to spend time and effort to pray, to offer sacrifices, to know more about Christ and to try our best to conform our life according to the teaching and example of Christ.

We have to train ourselves to think and react well to things in general, no matter how bad they may be. This can only happen if we are truly with Christ. We have to be wary of getting trapped to a certain type of righteousness and orthodoxy that does not actually reflect and channel the very charity of God as shown to us by Christ.

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