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Take the Last Seat

Yes-No-Yes-No Person
October 30, 2020
Si Roque at Ang Mga Bulaklak
October 31, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Take the Last Seat
Part of being human is our desire to be honored and recognized. It is one of our emotional needs and there’s nothing wrong with it. But we are in big trouble when we do good works for the sake of recognition and honor alone.
Our Lord is normally kind and understanding to everyone, but he easily upsets in front of hypocrites, selfish and proud people. What he likes best are humble loving people whose main concern is to serve everyone. He loves people who are honest and genuine in giving service to others, especially the poorest of the poor. He admires individuals who do good works in the name of love, not in the name of seeking recognition.
In our gospel today, Jesus immediately notices the Pharisees who loves to take the front or best seats in the assembly. Grabbing the front seats gives them instant recognition. Thinking that such recognition will add points to their dignity and people’s respect. Sad to say, they failed to recognize that this cause is in vain and nothing in the eyes of God. Their self-worth is hinged on people’s admiration and praise. And not on what God thinks about them.
When my first book DETOX won an award in 2016, I received hundreds of greetings and congratulations. I felt good about it. But a year after, everybody forgot about it, including me. That award matters a lot for me, but it’s not everything.
We need recognition. It means a lot to us. But it’s not everything. We recognized our need to be recognized, but this is not everything. A proud flower basking in its beauty will end up nothing in a few days. A powerful man will end up in his wheelchair when his old age comes. Our history tells us that powerful civilizations will eventually end in rubbles. The miniature Covid virus is capable of destroying everything that our society has established and gained. Nothing is permanent in this world. Nothing except change.
The gospel is inviting us to seek higher and lasting recognition and honor. Something that will last forever. Something that will not be found by grabbing the best chair in the assembly. It is something that we can only gain by becoming servants of all.
Our worst humiliation will not come from people’s bad remarks, or when someone will ask us to vacate the front seats. It will come from our awakening when people’s admiration is no longer with us, and when trophies, medals, and front seat are no longer given to us. Then, we realized that seeking honor and recognition is nothing but a useless cause.
Let’s set our mind and heart in serving others. Do it with or without praises and recognition. Be kind to everyone even without good results, even without receiving a note of gratitude, and even if people seem to disregard it. Just love for the sake of loving. It may be humbling to us. It may not seem right to serve and love our enemies and the ungrateful, but this is where genuine service lies. It’s humbling. It may not be satisfying to our ego wishing for recognition and honor. But this is something beautiful in the eyes of God. For love is humble.
Today, we remember our beloved loved ones. We pray for them and honor them. Not because of the many things we have received from them. But because of the genuine love we unconditionally received from them.
Take the last row of chairs, God loves to sit there.
– Fr. Willy M. Samson, SJ
October 31, 2020

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