September 1, 2019 - The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
We focus this week on humility, a virtue which causes us to act toward others as God does. Virtue and importance are not opposite, but in fact Sirach instructs us that the more and greater you are the more humble you should be. This week Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 offers us a variety of Proverbs dealing with humility:
Sirach says, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.”
Is there anything worse than a person who is fully blessed with riches, good health, family and friends, and successful employment, who is selfish, self-centered, self-righteous and has lost, or never had, a relationship with God? We understand humility as humbleness, having modest behavior, attitude and spirit and not being arrogant and prideful. Also as someone who shows submissive respect. Too often people begin to become arrogant and believe that they are the source of all good things in their lives and they do not need a god because they can make it all happen on their own. These same people can become very smug and very selfish in their thoughts and in their actions. They completely disconnect from whole sectors of society who are not on the same level they place themselves. They lose the ability to sympathize and empathize because they cannot imagine themselves ever being in a desperate situation where they need help. They are apart, and they are not loved by “lesser” people but are resented for their wealth and power because they do not love all their brothers and sisters and do not display humility and respect. Sadly, they do not recognize that they are now a member of a class of society that is inviting to those of wealth, and power, and high esteem from those in the same social class, and they would not be accepted if not for what they possess, and would be pushed out should they suffer a down-turn.
One who conducts their earthly affairs with humility, who appreciates their blessings, who understands and embraces the temporary nature of our world and how quickly good can turn to bad, who sympathizes and empathizes with those who are not as blessed or who have suffered a tragic or serious setback, and shares their blessings with others, one who praises God for all those blessings and humbles themselves before God will always be loved.
The Gospel supports this theme of humility. In Luke 14:1, 7-14 Jesus teaches us the parable of the banquet. Jesus tells us not to choose the best seat for ourselves otherwise we may be unseated by someone greater who shows up and finds favor with the host, and embarrassing situation. Rather take the lowly place (this is being humble, by not assuming one’s place of honor) and when the host comes to move you up closer you will enjoy the esteem of your companions! Jesus tells us that as a host we should not just invite family and friends who can repay us in kind with and invitation to their banquet, but to include people who cannot repay our kindness. (this is similar to Sirach saying, “Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.”)
No one is greater than God, through whom all good things come, and no man is greater than another in the eyes of God. ALL are invited to the banquet of the Lord, and the Lord knows that we can never repay Him for such an honor. Our Lord exhibited great humility and humbleness while he dwelt among us. He said many times that he did not come for a few but for ALL. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be successful in business, there is no restriction based on whether you are a man, a woman, a child, or you are white, black, brown, etc.
ALL is inclusive of EVERYONE.
So…if our Lord can include EVERYONE at His banquet, who are we to exclude anyone from ours?
The Psalm this week is Psalm 68: God In Your Goodness
May God bless you!