How honorable and free Moses is! He is the unique prophet; no other prophet has been like him. Yet he didn’t see himself as extraordinary nor did he care to arrogate himself to special treatment. Rather, he wished that all Israel could be prophets and prophesy. When Joshua, his assistant, complained that he should stop those professing in the tent, Moses cautioned him: “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all people of the Lord be prophets. Would that the Lord bestow his spirit on all!” In the same way, the disciples of Jesus wanted him to stop people who were healing in his name. Rather, Jesus was happy that some people were doing good work in his name, for it means they are for him and not against him. But the disciples felt threatened because they considered themselves special people attached to the Master. Moses, the great prophet, never felt threatened; he wished everyone would be like him. Jesus never felt threatened and desires that all of us would possess his spirit.
The disposition of Moses and Jesus shows us the essence of true freedom. A truly free person doesn’t feel threatened because someone else is doing something he does. If someone else can do what I do, then much can be accomplished even when I am not there. The goal and desire is that all are empowered to do the good work that promotes our human family.
The need to feel special can be a real prison and a disease that disrupts the possibility for others to be empowered to become better contributors to the human family and the mission of God. Most importantly, the need to be better than the rest is a great source of misery for a lot of people. For such people, they have to constantly be in charge of others, otherwise they feel small and insignificant. If a capable person comes close to them, they feel so threatened, that they may mobilize forces such as gossip, aggression and blackmailing against the one just to make sure their position and feeling of importance is not taken away. Yet, no one can take away your sense of importance unless you feel insecure and afraid.
True freedom is Jesus’ gift to us. We are already loved by God and sustained by this love. Our specific gifts do not diminish the gifts of others nor do they make us better than others. Moreover, we are all brothers and sisters; and if we live in the spirit of our Lord, our lives, families, communities and parish would thrive very well. Note this test: whenever you feel threatened by someone’s goodness, gifts, abilities or competence, just know that you are to that extent unfree inside. It may cause you sleepless nights and unnecessary anger. It is God’s desire for us to be truly free, happy and at peace. When we are free like Moses and confident in our ‘skin,’ we can sincerely love and serve and be part of God’s mission in the world without asking for special recognition and special seats. May God give us the grace to experience the true freedom that He so generously gives. Amen