How quickly we can disregard our own feelings about something or someone and adopt someone else’s. E.g. buy a shirt which I think looks good on me ( and is not too dear), but it only takes someone who considers themselves to be the height of fashion, to say “ Rory that’s wild looking” and I’ll never put it on my back again. We can be happy enough with our life until we find someone, whom we don’t even like , has more and then we become hard to live with. Or worse , we “rubbish” our talents at something , until someone else says that we are really good, and all of a sudden we start believing in ourselves. There is no doubt that , at times we put more stock in the opinions of others than in our estimation of ourselves , which is sad, because while we can control our own opinions , we cannot control what other people think – least of all about us. Not only is it sad but also dangerous because we can go through life , in such scenarios , unfulfilled.
At Pentecost, the people thought the apostles were drunk. When the apostles stepped out emboldened by the Holy Spirit, they were laughed at and ridiculed for being “full”. Before, they would, having received such reaction , cowered , lied or indeed hidden; remember Peter on Holy Thursday; or Nicodemus , who came at night to visit Jesus because he was afraid of the reaction of the other High Priests ?. Now with the outpouring of The Holy Spirit ,those same apostles who were so self-conscious and lacking in self-belief, did not care about the opinion of others; they knew the right thing to do and they did it.
We have received that same Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation. On both occasions that same Spirit endows us with the same knowledge and discernment gifted to the apostles at Pentecost, that our dignity and salvation lie in Jesus Christ, not in the over-vaulted opinions of others whose yard stick for normality and success differs considerably from ours. It should not matter whether other persons call us names , look at us disparagingly, belittle us or ridicule us; what matters is that we spend less time thinking about what others think and more time thinking about what I think; adherence to the truth, loyalty to my beliefs, accordance with my faith. Other peoples’ opinions are outside my control, so perhaps I should give less credence to what they say or think as opposed to what I believe.
Today, Pentecost Sunday, we get another outpouring of The Holy Spirit. Let us use that outpouring to proclaim to all ,in our words and by our actions, that we are concerned about serving our Master than we are about being slaves of fashion.