DO YOU LEARN MORE FROM GOOD EXAMPLES OR BAD ONES?
First Reading: 2 Kings 2:1,6-14
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 30(31):20,21,24
Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
A look at today’s world seems to reveal that many bad examples are easily inherited or learned than the good ones. It is quite common to hear trending words like “Marlians,” “Ndaboskians,” etc., from the youths than words that connote good virtues. It appears that the “good old days” when people expressed their intentions to imitate a virtuous figure are far beyond sight. Today, many people tend to follow whatever trends online, imitating bad characters and examples, without considering their moral implications. However, Jesus in today’s gospel admonishes us strongly against this attitude of learning or imitating bad examples.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus warns us of the dangers of imitating the “hypocrites” of his time, who apparently were the “Scribes and Pharisees” (cf. Mat. 15:7; 22:18; 23:13-15, etc.). They loved to parade their deeds before men in order to attract admiration and praise. Here, Christ tells us not to pray, fast, or give alms the way they do, just as he already warned us earlier (in Mat. 5:20) to cultivate a deeper virtue than that of the Scribes and Pharisees.
In today’s first reading, Elisha asked for a double share of Elijah’s spirit before the latter was taken up to ‘heaven’ by a whirlwind. This was because of the good examples the prophet Elijah demonstrated as a true prophet of Yahweh. Here, Elisha becomes a shining example of one who follows good examples.
Unfortunately, many young people are immersed in cultivating bad habits than virtues, today. Today’s readings call us to make a self-evaluation to ascertain if we are truly learning more from good examples or from the bad ones. Christ’s admonition in this regard should not be taken lightly, because we would all be rewarded accordingly by our heavenly Father who sees all that we do.
In a world overshadowed with bad examples, may we continually contemplate on the gospel values lived out by the saints who have gone before us, and imitate their virtues (Heb. 13:7). By so doing, we would be shining as “lights for the world and salts for the earth,” dispelling the shadow of bad examples in today’s world.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com