From grumbling to grace

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Simon Boiser SVD (Germany)

Wednesday Week 20, Jgs 9:6-15, Mt 20:1-16

We often tend to compare ourselves with others. We feel a brother or sister is our  parent’s favorite, a schoolmate our teacher‘s pet, or a co-worker as the boss‘ confidant   

We compare ourselves with others constantly and automatically. We have status anxiety; we don‘t want to be a loser, or below the social ladder.  

Our obsessive attention to ranking and comparison makes us more competitive and ambitious. If we cannot win the race, we sometimes try to discredit our competitors or “enemies” or cry out unfairness and injustice. Interestingly, if we win or have the   advantage, we think we totally deserve it, insisting that everyone acknowledge it   without envy and grudges.   

This comparison mentality is even carried over to our relationship with God. We begrudge God when He seems to be generous with sinners and non-believers. We  are outraged when evil doers seem to live a better and “blessed” life than we do. We often feel morally superior, because we think we spent more time with God, said more prayers and offered more sacrifices.   

However, God bestows His blessings without discrimination, even to those who deserve the opposite. They are not achieved but received. The church is a place where we learn that glory does not consist in what we do for God but in what He does for us. St. Augustine said, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full and busy to receive them.”   

Let us focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others. Let us not look at what our neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what we ourselves do and make it good and holy. 

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