The just man

September 19, 2021

Vaulting ambition, greed, wanton desires, and selfishness are at the root of many of the problems we face in society today. The relentless quest to gratify selfish desires has been the cause for much of the disorder and the foul practices evident in many of society. Such desires have often led to envy, jealousy, rancor, wars, conflicts, persecution and sometimes even to murder. In today’s first reading from the book of Wisdom, we read about the just man being persecuted because his good deeds stand in contrast to the ways of the wicked, the unjust. Against the just, they plan revilement and torture to get rid of him, since he stands in their way. In other words, they would stop at nothing in order to eradicate that obstacle. In the gospel we see the disciples of Jesus argue and fight over positions, about who is the greatest among them. And this took place as Jesus was speaking to them about His impending suffering for the sake of the salvation of the world. The only thing that mattered to them in that moment, sadly, was power and positions. Unfortunately, human nature has not changed much from the time of Jesus until the present time. All those vices that Jesus confronted are still very much alive. One of the places where we see the unsavory consequences of unbridled ambition is in politics. Often, we are shocked by the malicious slander, character assassination, intentional misrepresentation of facts, or even blatant lies that are told just for the sake of political gains. And these perpetrators are supposed to be men and women of honor who have sworn to serve the common good of the masses who elected them into office, but who end up serving their own selfish interests. Truth is told only when it is convenient and if it fosters their desire to remain in power forever. In all this unfortunate theatre of mischief, the poor masses watch in disgust and despair as their trust is constantly betrayed. Yet, as disappointing as all these may sound, we are encouraged by the fact that Jesus did not lose faith in His disciples, no matter their human weaknesses, and neither should we. We are all called to be vigilant to the seductive and corrupting influence of power, both in low and high places. Like the Psalmist, we pray God to protect us from its onslaught, and to help us realize that the greatest among us must be the servant of all. Amen

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