Pastor Ralph J. Mineo
I recently saw a story on the evening news. A young school student asked his mother to pack two lunches for him because there was a classmate who didn’t have his own lunch. Several parents talked about the situation, took up a collection, paying off all the student cafeteria debts and made sure that, from then on, no child would go hungry at lunch.
The story is heart-warming because the student saw a need and decided to be generous. But, to me, it’s deeper than that. The student saw someone different, even of a different social status, and became a servant rather than what seems to be more common attitudes in today’s world: finger-pointing, bullying, even ridicule.
St. Paul not only preached the word of God, he lived it. He became a servant of others (after being converted from being a bully and an executioner). In his new role, he invited the church to imitate him. He didn’t say that to get praise. Though it might sound like it, Paul wasn’t being “full of himself.” He said it to convert people to the ways of Christ.
In fact, in his letter to the Philippians (Chapter 2), he said it even better: “Your attitude should be that of Christ.” Christ Jesus, who was equal to God, “emptied himself” to become a human being, an obedient servant, emptying his life for us in death, death on the cross.
When we’re full of ourselves, we’re unable to see the needs in others. We don’t have a desire to tend to the needs of others. We deny the truth that we can do better.
The truth is, we CAN do better! It’s a lot of trouble to take the message and teachings of Jesus. It’s a burden to “take up our cross” and follow Jesus. But there’s nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than living this faith!
The parents in the news story were inspired by the action of the young man. They were so inspired that they were moved to action. We need more of such actions and imitations. Truth is, God provides daily opportunities for us to imitate Christ. The choice we have is to embrace those opportunities, or turn our backs on God.
Imagine what would happen if everyone would begin the day with a simple prayer “Lord Jesus, let your attitude become my attitude.” Our world would be turned upside down (in a divine way!) if everyone would give daily time and energy to live that prayer.
Let’s avoid being full of ourselves. Let’s be full of divine grace, divine love, Christ himself!