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Whats wrong about pride?

30th Sunday

Is it wrong to be happy about your good qualities? You are really beautiful or handsome or intelligent.

Is it improper to boast of your achievements? Your hard work truly earned you success, riches and fame.

What is wrong in having a sense of fulfillment in the good things that happen in your life or in the rewards due to your honest labor? Does God not appreciate all these things? And does he want to suppress your instinct to enjoy the good and beautiful things?

The gospel today depicts two people praying – a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Lord Jesus is repulsed by the Pharisee while he praises the tax collector. Why is this so? The Pharisee prays approaches God in a spirit of pride. The publican prayed with total humility and dependence on the Lord.

What is wrong with pride?

First, it is not improper to be satisfied with our achievements. There is cause to celebrate each time we sense that we have contributed something good to the world. We are born to excel and not to be mediocre. We are trained to aspire for more, the higher, the better. But it becomes pride when we start believing that we have attained all these through our own powers and abilities. Pride separates us from God because it is a failure to acknowledge God’s role in our lives.

For whatever good that results from our labor, we must learn control pride by learning to lift up our eyes to heaven in thanksgiving.

Second, it is not wrong to be happy about ourselves, especially about our good qualities. We must learn to accept our selves and not pretend that we have not been blessed in many ways. It is natural to be happy about oneself. But it becomes pride when we begin to believe that we are superior to others and that we are better than them, just because we are richly endowed.

Pride separates us not only from God but also from our neighbor. Pride is a sin against love of neighbor. One look at the Pharisee, and we find out how much he despises his neighbor and exalts himself in comparison.

In Jesus, pride has been conquered. Jesus did not separate himself from us. See how much he acknowledges the Father as the center of his life Look at him on the cross and see how much he loved and received all as his brothers and sisters.

Pride is a sin because it forgets God’s goodness and separates us from our brothers and sister who we begin to despise. Celebrate who you are. Celebrate what you accomplish. But learn to give thanks to God and learn to offer your life in service to the people around you.