Abuse of Power

There is a movie quote from the film Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  This is a saying that is very true because if your look at the world today, people abuse the use of power. Some displays of power in everyday life: 

  • A government official uses the “Whang Whang” so that he doesn’t get caught in traffic
  • A priest puts the sign, “Priest on call” even if there is no emergency to speak of 
  • In the office, bosses take advantage of people by not paying them the right salary and giving them the right benefits
  • A winning politician gets back at his opponent by attacking his businesses
  • A journalist hits a certain organization only to collect money so that the expose is “kept under the radar” 

During the times of Jesus, the Jews and the Samaritans were rivals. When they were not welcome in a Samaritan town the natural tendency was to abuse their power and take revenge by “calling fire from heaven.”

If a person is a person of influence and has power, three things to remember:

  1. The power given is meant to serve and not to be served. Hence, the higher one goes, it only means that more and more people are to be served and not to be lorded over.
  2. The power is temporary. Nothing lasts forever. One of these days that power will be transferred to another person. What if the person gets used to the trappings of power? He or she will surely have a hard time letting go.
  3. The power is meant to be backed up by character.  There is a saying, “If you want to know the true character of a person, give him power.” Hence, when a person doesn’t have character, he misuses power and becomes a curse. On the other hand, if the person has character, he becomes a blessing and does the right thing.

In today’s Mass, may we remember that power becomes good when it is used in the service of others. It is abused when it becomes self-serving.

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