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Sunday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

September 7, 2019

Wisdom 9:13-18b

Psalm 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

Philemon 9:10, 12-17

Luke 14:25-33

Around 1980 the singer/songwriter/actor Mac Davis wrote and performed a song called, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.”  A novelty song yes, but not far from how many people actually feel about themselves.  Please don’t misunderstand.  Being confident in oneself is a good trait to have but being humble is something completely different.  We all can’t be John Wayne or Marshall Matt Dillon walking down the dusty street to face down the “bad guys” in an 1870’s western town.  Being confident is a gift from God, being humble before God is our gift back to Him.

The theme in today’s readings concerns the virtue of humility.  Jesus tells us a parable about a banquet, and how our behavior at a banquet can result in either our shame or our honor.  Our Lord understands what most motivates us is the avoidance of shame and embarrassment, and the hope of attaining some honor, or some share in the spot light, some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  In the parable Jesus, of course, is really speaking about humility. 

Humility is what motivates Jesus, as it does His mother, Mary.  But our Lord respects our own limitations and sensibilities.  He knows that we are not going to do much if humility is the reason for our doing it.  He does this by teaching us what is really important to us; avoiding shame and achieving honor.  How can we doubt Him?  Jesus IS the wisdom of God.  He IS the sinless one, who because of that, can only say what is true when He speaks about the way things are between man and God.

Incidentally, the lesson of Jesus’ parable is summed up in a line from our first reading from the Book of Sirach.  “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”  We can hear the life of Mary in that verse.  “God,” she said, “has seen my humility,” and the angel said to her, “You have found favor with God.”  We can never argue with Mary!

Sisters and brothers, we human beings are the walking representation of God, with a call to responsible care and stewardship to the world and to everything that it contains.  How are we doing so far?  The glory of creation and its perfection depend on our success as humans. 

Today, all of us attending Holy Mass are invited to the Wedding Feast, the Supper of the Lamb, and the Banquet of the Bread of Eternal Life.  By our faithful love for the Holy Eucharist, the love and self-giving of the image of God, we begin to reconfigure our own selves into His image, into what we are created to be, into stewards and servants, whose honor is in being human.  All of which proves the truth and the wisdom of simply being humble in the Word, in proportion to our God-given greatness.   Amen.

Question of the Day:  Can I be as humble as Jesus and Mary and still be confident in the talents God has blessed me with?

Prayer:  Father, may we follow the example of your Son our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary.  May we serve You through the most faithful accomplishment of Your holy will with honor and humility, and so reach our eternal destiny.

Prosit!

 

 

 

 

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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