Saturday, September 8, 2007

forgot to post last week's homily. Here it is.

22nd Sunday Ordinary Time
September 2, 2007

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14

Sirach tells the reader to conduct your affair with humility.
Luke tells the reader that the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

It is one of the seven virtues. It is necessary

The word humility has its roots in a couple of interesting words. Humilis means low. Another word, humus, means earth. I like that.

A way of understanding humility is to think of it as the idea of being completely grounded in reality. Feet planted firmly on the ground. You are never higher than you actually are when you are humble.

Humility is the opposite of being proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive.

Humility is deferential towards others.

And God asks us to be humble.

Consider the humility of Almighty God. God, omnipotent, almighty, gloriously exalted in heaven, is humble. That is, completely grounded in reality. God is reality.

God comes to us in very humble ways. When the Word became flesh God decided to grow in the womb of his mother Mary. Rather than being born in the splendor of a palace he was born in a stable and laid in a manger. He grew up just like all of us. He went through potty training when he was two and zits when he was twelve. He was a humble carpenter in Nazareth before he began his ministry at age 30. He was never flashy about his ministry but did it in realistic ways. Yes, he performed miracles. He did them to show us the reality of the kingdom of God.

Consider how he comes to us today. In baptism he gives us the gift of salvation in a simple way through water and the Holy Spirit. In the sacrament of confirmation he gives us his Holy Spirit in a more profound way to empower us for ministry. But again, it is humble and quiet. At mass he comes to us through the agents of simple bread and simple wine to become spiritual food for us. Humble. Simple. Real. That is the humility of God.

And through Jesus God gives the gift of salvation to every single human person. He allows for us to receive the gift, not just of salvation from our sins, but also to become his beloved sons and daughters, heirs of his promises through Jesus.
Everybody has the opportunity to receive this gracious gift from God. None of us deserve it. All of us have committed sin.

This is why Jesus tells his disciples to be humble. The parable of the banquet warns us against all those false social distinctions. Jesus shows us how to regard one another as God regards us. Equally. That is why he tells us that we ought to be inviting the socially outcast to our gatherings.

And that is what the mass is. Everybody is welcome at God’s party. There is no distinction among us.

Our humble God gives us his own dignity through Jesus. And by becoming like our humble Jesus, we will know his glory.

Be humble.
And blessed indeed will you be.

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