The readings today deal with our need to keep self-love in check. We could not do away with it altogether, because we need to have everyone take care of himself. We can’t afford round-the-clock nursing to see to all of anyone’s needs. There is no commandment telling us to love our neighbor more than ourselves, but we are only told to love our neighbor as much as ourselves.
Most of us try keeping our self-love secret. It would be embarrassing if people knew how much we are stuck on ourselves. By letting it be known that they were arguing as to which of them was the greatest, the Apostles revealed themselves to be simple country boys. Sophisticated people like us pretend to be humble.
Even though we conceal our inordinate self-love, it is still there within us, doing its harm. That is what was behind the opening lines of today’s first reading.
“Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?”
Automobile that came off the assembly line the year you were born are all recycled trash now, but your bodies and minds keep perking along, fueled by whatever you shove into them. Your minds are storerooms of hundreds of tunes and of countless precious memories. You have every right to be proud of yourself.
The trick to becoming a really fine person is in coming to see the great value of each individual around you, just as you see your own great value.