Each of us probably knows of a person who always talks about himself, a person who cannot find anything good in other people, who finds enjoyment in downgrading others in order to lift himself up. It is very annoying. We also know the example and the feeling of being with somebody whom we suddenly discover has been pretending all the while, a person who says what he does not mean. That is the first type of hypocrisy, saying something we don’t mean.
The second type is worse, saying something we don’t believe in. That is the worst type of hypocrisy. It is very annoying because our trust is shattered. We cannot trust anymore, we cannot confide anymore because we do not know whether the person we are talking to is real or plastic. I am sure by now we all have somebody in mind. We meet these people every day in the morning when we look at the mirror. I was not referring to anybody. I was referring to myself, and I was inviting you to just acknowledge yourself. That is the paradox of humility. That is the paradox of pride and arrogance and hypocrisy. It is easier to find pride in other people, but when it comes to looking at ourselves and calling ourselves proud, arrogant, and boastful, we cannot admit this to ourselves. It is easier to find these characteristics in other people rather than to find them in ourselves. It is easier to say, “You are a hypocrite,” “You are a pretender,” and “You are plastic.” Yet, who has dared look in the mirror and say the same thing of oneself?
Who among us can honestly say that what other people see of us is what or who we really are? Who among us can say that we never think that we are better than others? It is always easy to find all the arrogance in other people, but when it comes to looking at ourselves, we are too proud to admit that we too have that streak of pride. And what do we do when we see somebody who is very proud, arrogant, hypocritical, insincere, not truthful? What do we do with such people? There are two things that we must do. First, remember we are not better. Just accept that “I am not better than these hypocrites beside me. Just accept that “I’m not better than this proud, arrogant, deceitful man beside me.” Just accept it because that’s the reality. The second thing that we must do if we see a proud man and we have accepted that we are not better than this proud man is to remember the humility of Jesus who did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. Remember the humility of Jesus, and in so doing, may we be inspired to follow that example. While remembering the humility of Jesus, may we stop judging one another as proud and arrogant, insincere and hypocritical because we are only pointing at ourselves. Remember the sincerity of Jesus, the Word made flesh, whereas we are in the reverse. The Word was made flesh, and that is Jesus Christ.
For us, it is flesh made word, and words and words and words… When we see somebody who is arrogant, who is insincere, who is deceitful, who has been lying to us, let us look at ourselves and say, I am not better. Remember God as our first example. I say it again; it is very easy to find fault in others. It takes a lot of courage and heroism to say it’s also in me. The one who will judge the proud man, the one who will judge the hypocritical man, is not the one who knows what is hypocrisy, who knows what is humility. The one who will judge is the one with a clear conscience. And who among us has that clear conscience?
In a small community Church, the parish priest says Mass every 12:15 p.m., like us here at the EDSA Shrine. Because it was a small community, everybody knew everybody. One noontime, there was an old lady in her 70s who came in when the Lamb of God was being sung. She fell in line for Communion and after, went to the back pew and the altar for some quiet prayer, left even without waiting for the final prayer and the final blessing. The community was scandalized. How can this woman do this to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? She comes at “Lamb of God,” without any preparation, falls in line for Communion, and then without waiting for us to finish receiving Communion, leaves.
After doing that for one week, one of the zealous parishioners said to himself, “I am going to correct this woman.” So when the woman entered at “Lamb of God,” fell in line for Communion, the zealous Catholic followed her without receiving Communion anymore. The elderly lady took her car, and he took his car also and followed her. But when the lady got to the compound, the gate was opened and the car of the lady entered and naturally his car was not allowed to enter. So he knocked at the gate and said, “Let me enter. May I talk to that lady?”
The guard opened the gate. When the gate opened, there was a large compound with around 200 children being fed for lunch. There was the old lady who welcomed this zealous Catholic with delight and said, “Oh, I see you at Mass. I am very sorry that I am not able to meet all of you. I feed these 200 street children and I do the marketing. I cook for them, I teach them, I tutor them and my only break is that short time when I drive to the Church, receive the Holy Eucharist and then I drive back home because these kids need me very much. By the time I’m finished, it is nine o’clock, there is no more Mass. It is such a blessing that there is a noontime Mass when I can take the Lord in Holy Communion because the Lord is my strength.” And our zealous Catholic said, “Ah.”
The one who will judge is not the one who knows the law. The one who will judge is the one with a clear conscience. Who is this mortal?
Love Like Jesus