The Gospel Today
Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
Reflection (Sem. John Paul S. Adia)
Self-righteousness is an attitude that will never be satisfied. Today’s Gospel led me to this thought that there is nothing right for a person who never goes beyond himself. It is like the self is the standard of what is ideal and beyond that is unacceptable. As I reflect about it, I realized that this is also true with me, even though I am in seminary formation. This is a trait, which might be true with many, that I am so much attached to especially during my first year in the seminary.
In the reading, John is seen by other people as a possessed person while Jesus is said to be a drunkard. I asked myself, what makes a person too judgmental of others? This is for me what Jesus and John experienced in the Gospel. Thus, this made me realize that a person can easily judge another if he never experienced living with that person.
I distinguish between pakikipamuhay versus pakikipamahay. In pakikipamuhay, there is a part of the self that have been shared and there is part of the other that have been received or embraced. Pakikipamahay, on the other hand, is the physical aspect of being with others. I believe that those who judged Jesus and John are those who were nakikipamahay.
Everyday encounter with God is also a measure of my pakikipamuhay and pakikipamahay with Him. My everyday encounter with my brothers in the seminary is the same experience as well. But I as a seminarian, am always invited to be with them not just physically (makipamuhay). My issues with other people are triggered because I forget to go beyond myself; I become self-righteous. This led me to be just nakikipamahay. This is also true if I will show no concern on the formation house I am living in and the people I am encountering.
This is a great invitation for me to open up to the people I live with. How can I feel them if I am blocked by my own self-righteousness? I need to go beyond and experience that which is beautifully described in a philosophical word – transcendence.