Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Matthew 9:32-34
What a stark contrast we see in the reaction of the crowds compared to the reaction of the Pharisees. It’s actually quite a sad contrast.
The reaction of the crowds, meaning normal everyday people, was one of amazement. Their reaction reveals a simple and pure faith that accepts what it sees. What a blessing it is to have this form of faith.
The reaction of the Pharisees was one of judgment, irrationality, jealousy and harshness. Most especially, it is irrational. What would lead the Pharisees to conclude that Jesus “drives out demons by the prince of demons?” Certainly it was nothing that Jesus did that would lead them to this conclusion. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the Pharisees were filled with a certain jealousy and envy. And these sins led them to this ridiculous and irrational conclusion.
The lesson we should learn from this is that we must approach other people with humility and honesty rather than jealousy. By seeing those around us with humility and love, we will naturally arrive at genuine and honest conclusions about them. Humility and honest love will enable us to see the goodness of others and rejoice in that goodness. Sure, we will also be aware of sin, but humility will help us to avoid making rash and irrational judgments about others as a result of jealousy and envy.
Reflect, today, on the way you normally think and speak about others. Do you tend to be more like the crowds who saw, believed and were amazed at the good things Jesus did? Or are you more like the Pharisees who tend to fabricate and exaggerate in their conclusions. Commit yourself to the normalcy of the crowds so that you, too, can find joy and amazement in Christ.
Lord, I desire to have a simple, humble and pure faith. Help me to also see You in others in a humble way. Help me to see You and to be amazed at Your presence in the lives of those whom I encounter every day. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of Day – Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions