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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Authentic Fame

"News of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region." Mt 4:37

Wise people remind us regularly that fame is fleeting. We lose our looks, our athletic ability, our fortune or our political power and people who could not get enough of us, forget our name and what we thought was a friendship. Fame that is based on our skills and appearance cannot last, but fame that is rooted in our honest other centeredness is something else altogether.

The fame that Jesus garnered and about which the evangelists write is often of a passing kind. His miracles especially attract those looking for a quick fix to their problems, but it is clear to those who read the Gospels as Good News that focusing on Jesus' miracles is fools gold. Only our willingness to listen to his transforming message and be moved by it to conversion of life will last. Intriguingly, when those following him focus too intently on his miracles, Jesus leaves them, finds on mountain on which to pray, and moves onto another place and people. His mission is not about impressing people but offering them a gift that is beyond an healing they may be seeking.

When people tried to focus on Dorothy Day's goodness and care for the poor by calling her a saint, she caustically replied: Don't dismiss me so easily. Saints know that living the Gospel is not about being famous or being called saint. Rather, saints know that their task is to conform themselves to God's dream for the world and to live it no matter the cost. Whether they experience extraordinary gift from the Holy Spirit is not he point. That they are faithful to the gospel is.

Today, pray for the gift of authentic humility.

What famous person do you most admire for living the Gospel with joy?

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