Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Responsorial Psalm PS 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
- (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
Reading 2 HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A
Alleluia MT 11:29AB
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord,
and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 14:1, 7-14
Homily for Nativity on the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings focus on humility. I was struck by the first line of the Gospel, “On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.”
“They were observing him carefully.” Most commentators say they were observing him to try to trap him and put him to death, but my bet is that they were also observing him to see if he practiced what he preached, so see if he showed the kind of humility that he demanded from them.
Humility is not a virtue or a characteristic that one brags about or puts on a resume. People know humility when they see it, but humility isn’t something that is exactly strived for either, because it appears, or fails to appear, only after a person gains power or authority, then we can see their humility or not.
Jesus was trying to teach the Pharisees about humility. He had been observing them too, he had noticed their pride. But rather than start looking around at others, observing others pride or humility, I believe it is important to examine our own actions, examine our own desires and our motivations, to see where our pride might be getting the best of us, where we might be lacking humility.
Personally, I’ve found myself recently being really proud of this assignment. Nativity is a great parish. There are a lot of really good people; people are active and faithful; the Church is beautiful and I think it is a fantastic assignment.
My pride comes from the fact that I have only been a priest for a year and three months and I am already the Pastor of this great church. Between here and the schools, the number of souls that I am responsible for is a lot more than my friends who have been priests for much longer than I have.
So the other night I was talking to a former professor of mine from Loras and I said, “they made me Pastor after one year, can you believe it?” It was a brag, I’ll admit, and honestly, he didn’t care, he isn’t even Catholic and he has no idea if it is a big deal or not. He said “wow” and the conversation ended shortly after that.
We need to examine our words and our actions, nearly constantly when we are dealing with others, to make sure that what we are doing isn’t seeking honor or attention. We need to be conscious of our motivation.
We need to think of ourselves less, or think less of ourselves, as we grow in power or authority. Sure, we may have grown as people, but everything we have is given to us by God. My assignment, your promotion or big win or invitation to the banquet, it’s all a gift from our God who loves us and provides for the needs of His children.
When we observe an action that lacks humility, it should be an opportunity for us to examine our own selves to see if we are showing humility or not.
We show humility when we apologize, when we learn from a suggestion, when we ask for help, when we serve those who the world might say are beneath us.
Nothing is beneath us. At Wahlert on Wednesday I joked that I had really made it because as Pastor I'm now in charge of 21 toilets on this block. Someone said later, "at least you don't have to clean those toilets," but I'm not above it, I have before and I will again if they need it.
We should not expect that we know everything or that we are perfect and deserving of honor, rather we should be humble and docile to the spirit which leads us and leads others.
We should serve where we are called to serve, which isn't always our dream job or what we hoped for, but God has a way of shaping us in those situations if we resolve to humbly walk the path with him…
When we are able to turn our attention from seeking honor for ourselves, and rather giving honor to others, serving where we are called, not looking for the pay back or reciprocation, then our love will be made perfect through Jesus, our savior, who shows us the way to humility.