Regretfully, from time to time, we can tend to look at others who have a better job than us; own a bigger home; own a nicer car; have more academic degrees or even who make more money than us as being better than us. Certainly, at the times of the Vanderbilts and the Rockerfellers, this was common thought. After the Great Depression, more and more people, especially those who were hardest hit and lost the most, learned an invaluable lesson: we are all in this together! Of course, like with all good things, with the passage of time, people were able to rebuild their shattered lives and began to get back on their feet. In some cases, they were even able to amass large quantities of wealth again and began to revert to old tendencies of viewing others as less than them. I wish that there was a magic incantation that could be uttered (not that I believe in magic) so that those who think themselves superior to others might have that lofty impression that they have of themselves so that each of us can always remember that in the image and likeness of God we were made and that is how we are to treat our fellow man and woman.
In the First Reading this Fourth Sunday of Lent from the First Book of Samuel, Jesse has the wind taken right out of his sails! Samuel has been sent by the Lord to anoint the next great King of Israel and it was from Jesse’s sons the king would be selected and then anointed. Jesse, like most fathers of that time, simply figured that it was the eldest who would be the chosen one. However, as we heard, it was not. Son after son, Jesse is informed that none of the ones whom he presented was the chosen. It isn’t until Samuel insists that there has to be another that Jesse presents the youngest or in his mind, the most insignificant, and Samuel rejoices because the Lord’s chosen, David, is finally brought forward. We can forget that the Lord has called those who seem most insignificant to bring about greatness. David who is anointed King, unites the Nation of Israel and restores a great people for the Lord. Jesus’s humble beginnings remind us of the same and as we journey through Lent, we are reminded that a simple carpenter, the Son of God, a convicted criminal, is forced to endure the agony of the Cross in which Greatness itself, namely, the Glory of the Resurrection is revealed. Perhaps as we prepare ourselves for our Communal Lenten Reconciliation Service set to take place on Wednesday, 9 April @ 7:00PM, this is one of the things we can reflect on in our own lives. A good question for reflection might be: do I ever think myself better than others? Do I judge the successes of others by my own accomplishments thereby thinking myself better than them? The Sacrament of Reconciliation heals the rifts that we create in our community enabling us to continue building up the Body of Christ here and now.