Judging by Appearance

A social experiment was made with a person made to dress in very ordinary street clothes and enter an expensive car dealership. At first, none of the salespeople were minding him. Then he was treated shabbily, and he was not even allowed to test drive a car or even just to sit and get a feel of the car. Further, he was warned that he might scratch the paint of the car. 

The next scene, the same man came in the dealership in a flashy car and was dressed like a rich person. He was well-attended by the salespeople, being offered anything to drink, answering all the questions attentively and he was even offered to test drive the car.

It should not be a surprise that people react for the “externals.” A Senior Vice President is treated differently from a Marketing Assistant; a resident of Forbes Park in Makati is treated differently from a resident of Block 7. Lot 6 Maginhawa Village in Samar; A Business Class passenger is treated differently from Coach passenger; One who is dressed well is treated differently from one who is just dressed.

Hence, there is this natural pursuit for the Externals of life. 

Yet, in the Gospel today, Jesus warns about focusing in the the “Externals of Life.”

  1. In the first reading, we are warned about being “narcissistic.” Falling in love not with God but with one’s own self. How many people would talk about themselves instead of God’s goodness in their lives? In other words, “It is all about me.” Further, the first reading warns us of a curse if we take God away from our hearts.
  2. The second reading warns us that when we become too obsessed with ourselves, we forget about others. When we become too obsessed with ourselves, we become selfish and self-centered and because of that, we forget how to share and be generous.
  3. The Gospel talks about humility, something every Christian should aspire. We should always be reminded that nothing lasts forever. The power, the money, the connections, the health, the intelligence, and beauty. Remember they may be here today and gone tomorrow. How then do you deal with people when these externals are not there anymore?

That is why in this Mass we must remember that the Lord is not impressed with the externals. What really matters with the Lord is the heart. What really matters with the Lord is the goodness of the heart.

What is the biggest blessing for those with the goodness of the heart – Peace! As we have prayed in the responsorial psalm, “In you Lord, I have found my peace!” Good times or difficult times there is peace if it comes not from the outside, not from externals but from the heart.

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