One of the more interesting aspects of the Society of Jesus was Ignatius’s emphasis for proper publicity. He demanded, in rather strongly worded letters, that reports from the missions be composed in such a way that they could be shown to benefactors so that the good works of the Society could be known and these same benefactors could make the “appropriate” response. Jesuits published these letters for the edification of their own young members and to promote the good reputation of the Society of Jesus.
Today publicity consumes much of our time and energy in so many of our activities. Academic institutions and other institutions have positioned resources towards publicity, in step with the founder of the Jesuits. However, we should take a lesson from today’s gospel in understanding the importance of advertising the truth. We read about two men in the temple, one proclaims his supposed greatness, the other quietly recognizes his humility and sinfulness. False claims do no one any good. These false claims may fool ourselves and others for a time but according to today’s gospel they do not impress God.