Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Pride makes us do funny things. I've pretended to get a phone call one time on a Chicago street because I realized I was going the wrong way and didn't want to just turn around in the middle of the block. I've pretended to scratch my head instead of letting a stranger know I accidentally waved to him or her. Of course running into a spiderweb no one else can see is impossible to play off as you pat your self down like you've been lit by an invisible fire. Pride's consequences go further though as we choose sin in order to seem like we have it all together, even though the Lord clearly tells us these words in Sirach today, "Avoid all evil."
Today's admonition comes in the midst of a beautiful reading that primarily revolves around the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As I read this reading I was so encouraged and comforted by the promises that God is knowable, God's will is discernible, and the Lord has made every effort to equip us to walk in Godliness. As I basked in that comfort I also pondered the line between pride and trust.
Sirach calls us to a radical trust in God who has provided us anything that we think we can boast of as our own. It also affirms for us that God has the answers and knows what's going on in the world and in our lives. This is where I believe we can be tempted to pride. Too often I confuse my certainty that God knows what's going on and has answers with my comprehension and my ability to have the answers. When I do this though I enter into pride and as I attempt to disguise that I truly don't know or as I walk through spiritual spiderwebs I can fall into sin and scandal.
Trust on the other hand, takes me out of the spotlight. Instead, of claiming to have all the answers I merely claim that there are answers and the one who offers them is trustworthy and generous, even when I am not. I might be walking the wrong direction and too embarrassed to just turn around. I might be ignorant or misinformed.
"I don't have all the answers" might sound like just another flavor of relativism in today's culture, but when combined with "But i know the one who does," things change radically. To paraphrase an author, "to live as a disciple means to live in such a way that one's life does not make sense without God."
Sirach lays out the same challenge.
- Spencer Hargadon