"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Message to Students: Beware of Unhealthy Comparisons!

ear students, there are three points to our reflection. First point: the disciples of Jesus were very much like us. They had strengths and weaknesses, moments of faith, and moments of doubt. They often compared themselves too, both within their group and with others in society. In Mark 9:33-37, the disciples argued about who was the greatest. Jesus responded, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” True greatness is about humility and serving others selflessly.

In today’s gospel, we see a similar situation: “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. For whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38-40).

Second Point: Beware of the Dangers of Unhealthy Comparisons

Unhealthy comparisons can be harmful. They can foster jealousy and competition rather than genuine connection and support, straining friendships and relationships. Jesus warned the disciples about this and taught them to be inclusive and recognize the good in others.

Engaging in unhealthy comparisons can be self-torture. Often, we are not fully aware of its negative effects. The time spent comparing ourselves to others can detract from our own growth and goals. It can lead to procrastination and a lack of focus.

Without noticing it, we may feel pressured to conform to trends and lose sight of who we truly are. Social media often showcases an unrealistic portrayal of life, creating impossible standards for beauty, success, and happiness. This can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration.

Frequent exposure to edited and filtered images can contribute to body dissatisfaction and unhealthy behaviors, especially among young people, potentially leading to eating disorders and other body image issues.

Third Point: Jesus' Lesson on Humility and True Greatness

To help his disciples understand, Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He then took a little child and placed the child among them, using the child as an example of humility and service, which are the true markers of greatness in God’s Kingdom (Mark 9:35). Jesus consistently redirected the disciples’ focus toward humility, service, and love, which are the true measures of greatness in God’s eyes.

Aspiring for greatness and giving our best is good, but we should remember that our worth is not determined by our status or achievements. A strong sense of self does not depend on conforming to popular trends. In today’s world, especially on social media, there’s a tendency to show only the good side of our lives. While it’s natural to share happy moments, it’s important to understand why showing only the good side can be harmful. We turn to be too judgemental of others and of ourselves. It is a symptom of having engaged in unhealthy comparison: constant self-criticism and negative self-talk, "I'm a failure because I haven't achieved the same as that person." Constant self-criticism begets constant discontentment. It is very tiring also because we become too paranoid to aim for success and we panic when we make a mistake. Do not be afraid to make mistakes because mistakes teach us valuable lessons too. When you make a mistake, learn to laugh at yourself. This helps you be gentle and tender toward yourself, and then you will become understanding and tender toward others. You become more accepting and merciful. You have accepted that life has ups and downs, and it’s important to acknowledge both if we want to be real and honest in our interactions. True connection and growth come from being honest with ourselves and acknowledging both our strengths and weaknesses. The balance of the two is very important.

Our true worth does not depend on our status or achievements. No. We are already loved no matter what, by Jesus. Amen. Fr JM Manzano SJ


  1. Very nice sharing Fr. Jomari. These encouraging words are needed of our youth today and I hope you have touch their hearts. And give them a breath of life, to see their beauty and accept what is real and true about themselves. Let's keep praying and accompanying in their journey.GBU!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! We do our best to accompany our youth... that they will learn from their own mistakes and not repeat the mistakes of others (myself included)! GBU!


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