Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” Jn 13,16-20
Today, the Gospel allows us to say a few words about the risk of presumption. When Jesus says: “No slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him ” and “The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me”, he clearly refers to Judas, who, among the Twelve, was the most learned one, together with Matthew, and was thus responsible as cashier for all. This prerogative had probably made him – so to say – “fly high”, up to the point that he considered the Master’s ideas on salvation of Israel less right than his, which were oriented more towards a political liberation rather than a spiritual one. It is the sin of presumption which is always a risk for those who have a greater competence than others in any sector. It is said that, in ancient Greece, a cobbler had stopped to look at the great painter Apelles while painting, and had noticed that the lacing of a shoe of a character he had painted was not properly drawn. Since he had pointed out the problem, Apelles thanked the cobbler and corrected the mistake. The cobbler then, proud for correcting that great painter, improvised himself as an art critic and improvised and dared say: “Even the facial expression, however, could be made better. ” “Oh, no! – Said Apelles – the cobbler must not rise above the shoe”. This story warn us against the risk of becoming proud and arrogant beyond the field of our knowledge. Experience has taught us that true knowledge is always accompanied by attitudes of humility and willingness to learn something more something from others. Everything is played on the mental balance of a person: self-esteem is a virtue, the presumption and the lack self-esteem are two opposite defects. A sure way to achieve a healthy balance between the two extremes is faith, from which we get the awareness that everything is a gift, also our skills, be they natural or acquired. And the Christian way to dispose of the gift is to make it available to those who need it, since the gift – Paul says – are given to us “for some benefit” (1Cor 12,7).