Confidence vs Arrogance

Reflection for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our October 15th newsletter

serviceI sometimes listen to the radio program “From the Top,” which offers a public platform for talented young musicians. In addition to enjoying their performances, I admire the confidence of these teenagers. Where does it come from? They work hard, love what they do (even though it demands sacrifice), and they thank the encouragement of others, especially their teachers and parents. Even though I am not young or highly gifted, can I still be a confident person?

In this week’s Gospel, James and John approach Jesus not with genuine confidence, but with a foolish, self-serving request which raises the ire of the other apostles. Jesus takes the opportunity to teach a lesson about arrogance. First, he chides the brothers for asking the wrong question, and then admonishes the apostles not to be like rulers who lord their authority over the people. If YOU wish to be great, you must serve others, teaches Jesus. Today, we have many examples of arrogance of “rulers” in our political and church worlds.

So, how am I to be humbly confident, but not arrogant, not lording my position, or education, or talents over others? The Gospel guides us. First, ask the right questions, not shallow, self-serving ones. Then learn that true greatness is serving, not my own ego or comfort, but the needs of others. Jesus reminds us that he “did not come to be served, but to serve.” When we put this lesson into practice, we can follow Paul’s advice to the Hebrews; i.e, to “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy.” This is the spiritual confidence of one who has learned that true greatness lies in self-giving service to others.

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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