Humility

To act humbly means to be modest, respectful and to be deferential and submissive. It also means to make lower in condition or status.

This weekend’s theme is humility.  The first reading from Sirach ( 3:17-18, 20, 28-29) which was written 200 years before Christ, calls us to humility with a couple of proverbs:

  • My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
  • Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.

If you’re asking yourself, “why should I show humility?”, Jesus answers that question beautifully for us in Luke’s Gospel (14:1, 7-14).  In this scripture, Jesus is at the home of  one of the leading Pharisees and he’s watching people jockey for position at the dinner table. We’ve all seen this happen at recitals,  buffets, boarding an airplane, at weddings, funerals and parades.  We tend to push, shove and elbow so that we can have the best view, seat or food – even if it’s at the expense of our neighbors or other guests.

After observing the very common behavior, Jesus told the familiar parable where he says that whenever you’re invited by someone to attend a wedding banquet (or any other affair), don’t seat yourself in a position of honor.  Instead of trying to obtain the “best” seat Jesus instructs us to, “go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’”

It’s better to be brought from coach to first class than to be humiliated by being asked to move to the back of the plane!

“For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

When we deliberately humble ourselves by taking a seat in “the lowest place”, we’re able to meet new people and understand life from the perspective of a different group of people. It’s an invitation to accept the beautiful gift of being able to learn from every human that we come in contact with. Truly, we have something to learn from every person we’re fortunate enough to meet.

After Jesus had addressed the guests, he turned his attention to the host and gave him some unsolicited advice. He tells us that when we have a party, be sure to invite people who very likely will never be able to reciprocate – the lonely, the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.

God gives to each of us who have nothing to give in return. We’re asked to do the same thing every day of our lives.  You and I are the hosts and hostesses who are inviting all people to God’s banquet. Not just those with the same incomes, skin color and faith.

We know that when we do this, “we will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Life is simple: act in a Christ-like fashion by loving everyone.

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