Recently I ran across a best friend I had way back in grade school. When we were in Grade 6, I was 4’9″ tall, he was 4’5″ went to study high school in Manila, while he studied in our hometown. Even if we did not go to the same school, we would always run into each other. After several years, I noticed that I had grown to the height of 5’4″, he was 4’9″. And the last time I saw him, he was still 4’9″.
We are both 31 years old already. Still unmarried, I, because l cannot get married, he, because he has become very choosy. I asked him why. He said: “I only date girls who are less than 4’9″ tall.” And he has been left with a very narrow field. I asked him: “Why do you look for a woman 4’9″ tall. You won’t find any. What will be left for you to choose from will be those in Grade 6.”
And he replied, “I look for shorter women so that I will feel tall.” If you extrapolate that story, you will be faced with the story of the Scribes and the Pharisees who were short, but because they wanted to appear tall, they compared themselves to shorter people.
As I have said time and again, in the kingdom of the blind, the cross-eyed is king.
The criterion of the Pharisees was not what God did but what the other people did. Thus, if you simply look at, and compare yourself with other people, you will very likely say, “I am a lot better.
The Gospel message is that our standard should be not what other people do, not what other people say, but what God will do and say if He were in our situation.
If only the Pharisees realized that the standard for judging themselves was what God was doing, they would very likely discover that they were so puny and mediocre But they compared themselves to other people, so naturally they felt ten feet higher than the rest.
When we compare ourselves with other people, there can only be two results. One, we become self-centered. We become very proud because we think we are better than the others. Two: we discover somebody better than us, we can end up bitter, envious, and jealous, because we cannot come up to that standard.
But if we compare ourselves to God, then if we fail to meet God’s standard, there is still one step left to us: to be sorry. Once we admit we are sorry we can continue to hope that God will change us according to His standard.
If we compare ourselves with one another, we will end up bitter or proud. Our standard should be not what other people say, not what other people do. Rather, it should be what God will say, what God will do if He were in our situation.
During this Mass, we will ask ourselves: who is my standard? It should be God. It must be God. Once we accept this in our heart, we will realize how simple we are. We will come to realize how much hope God gives us in spite of what we are.
OUR STANDARD IS GOD
Only Jesus, Always Jesus