Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”
Jesus is frustrated with the people at this point in the Gospel of John. They do not understand that He truly is the Son of God, who has come in the name of the Father. They are more likely to listen to other human beings than to listen to Jesus. Jesus then says, “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”
Do I seek the praise of others or the praise of the only God? This is a trap of the evil one – to seek the praise of others instead of God. We can become people pleasers because we desire so much the love and praise of others. However, what is the cost? Sometimes we don’t speak God’s truth because we are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes we do things that we know we shouldn’t do so that the group will like us.
Have I ever lied in order to be liked?
Have I ever done something immoral only because there was peer pressure?
In today’s first reading from Exodus, the people who await Moses to come down the mountain create the golden calf to worship. I wonder how many people participated in worshiping the golden calf only because the others were doing it. Some of them probably got caught up in the excitement and before they knew it, they were sinning terribly. In their desire to please others, they committed a terrible sin of idol worship.
We do this at times also. Instead of just seeking the praise of God and doing what we know is right, we sell ourselves short by following the crowd.
When you are in a group that is gossiping or talking bad about someone else, do you stand up for the person who is not there, or do you remain silent?
When no one is looking, do you cheat, lie or steal, thinking “no one will ever know”?
Or do you realize that our heavenly Father sees and knows everything?
Do you only seek to please God alone?
Jesus says that following Him will not be easy. There will be some heavy crosses. But the cross always leads to the resurrection. John Paul II said that we should preach the “truth with love”. Some people were offended by his teaching, but he knew he could not change the Truth. And now he is going to be a saint in a few weeks. He sought to please God alone; and at the same time loved his neighbor by sharing with them the Truth, who is Jesus Christ Himself.
Who am I trying to please? God or others?
Have a blessed day!