Following Him My Own Way

We notice that among children in the family, when the parent praises one of them for his/her achievement or good behavior, the others also want to know the parent‘s opinion about them. They appear to be jealous of the favored one and wished to be praised and loved like their sibling. Not only children. All of us need to know and believe that we are loved and lovable. These feelings are natural and normal. However, when these emotions are not well managed, they can be detrimental. We see this in the movie The Life of Others. Perceiving Dreyman as a rival, the minister of culture decided to monitor him and to use the information he got from this exercise to his own advantage.


For us Christians, focusing on others can distract us from being faithful followers of Jesus. Focusing on the life of others can make one base his/her own sense of self-worth and even spirituality upon comparison with others. The other becomes one‘s own model. One either looks at those whom he considers super-spiritual and tells himself that he is scum. Or, look at those whom he considers to be slackers and may become smug in his superiority. Both attitudes could be dangerous and unproductive.

The question the apostle Peter asked Jesus regarding the future of a follow apostle John in today Gospel pericope could be based to some extent upon his presumed or preconceived cordial relationship existing between Jesus and John, who is addressed as the beloved of the master. This preconception could have also elicited some kind of jealous feelings among the apostles regarding John and the preferential treatment, he was supposed to recieve from their master. That is an expression of human weakness, which is a sign that the apostles were not super humans, but those who were on the way towards perfection.

Jesus, on the other hand, does not give John any preferential treatment in the Gospel accounts, because he sees the apostles from God‘s perspective. He loves all equally and knows that everyone of them has a different personality trait, different charisms, and different roles to play. He does not compare and does not prefer one as against the others. Rather he believes that each and everyone of them can be useful for his messianic mission.

We are Beloved

On the eve of Pentecost, we also need to know and believe that we are the beloved of God. He loved us the way we are with our talents and weakness. He wants us to be satisfied about ourselves, about our gifts, and talents-not to look at those of the others. We also need to remember that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to the church. And as the body of Christ, we fulfill in our different ways the mission of Christ. Just as the parts and members of the body are different, so are we. We don‘t need to desire the gift and talent of other.

All we need is to be thankful with the mother church for the variety of gifts, which she receives from the Holy Spirit, and pray that we understand and appreciate our gifts, as well as remain confident in a God, who knows what we need for our particular circumstances to be true followers of Christ. Happy Pentecost.

[Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31; Jn 21:20-25]

Fr. John Opara

Fr. John Opara is an associate pastor at St. Johannes Lette Coesfeld, Germany. He has a doctorate degree in Sacred Liturgy and is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria. Email: [email protected].

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