Note: this is my monthly Gospel reflection on Catholicmom.com which ran on June 18.
“All the world’s is a stage.” Shakespeare’s famous line reveals the inner longing of each and every human being: to be noticed, to be loved.
Even those of us who swear we are shy, who claim we long to be invisible, who hole up in our rooms, still want to be seen. It’s a validation of our existence. Nobody truly wants to be invisible.
Some of us perform by parading our good deeds. Some of us can sing, dance or act so we perform on plays and if we’re lucky, hit the big time and star in movies or TV.
Some of us command the stage when we are ill by becoming self-absorbed, and demanding of others.
And in our religious life we like to perform too. The season of Lent gives us that perfect opportunity to show the world how pious we are with our fasting, our sacrifices and our charity.
Who are we performing for? For the approval of God? For the approval of those around us?
We may not even be aware that we are performing. But God is aware.
Jesus, having been human himself, knew that inner need of validation we all have to be seen and heard. We know he struggled with it himself as shown in his forty days in the desert being tempted by the devil.
This is why today he gives us a better way to live: to live for the Father’s approval, not our neighbor’s. We do our work for the Kingdom quietly, sometimes in secret, sometimes in our inner rooms.
And by doing so, we are set free from needing to be liked.
Who needs to be liked when we are already so loved?
Am I mindful of the fact that I am performing for others? Am I a slave to the desire to be liked by others? What can I do to change that mindset?
Lord Jesus, you know all our inner struggles because you lived them. You knew the temptation of wanting to be the star. Grant me the grace to desire only to please you. Set me free from the slavery of needing approval from my neighbor. Amen.
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