September 1/2 2007

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C
First Reading:
Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29
Psalm 68
Second Reading: Heb. 12:18-19, 22-24
Gospel: Lk. 14: 1, 7-14

Cultivating and Applying the Spirit of Humility in our Attitude and Behaviour!

Humility is every one’s problem! We all love to blow our horns over the good we have done or about what we have achieved in life. As a nation, as a society, as group, as workers and professionals, as Church and even as People of God and parishioners of this Parish – all of us here at this Eucharist have a problem with humility. Philosophically, one could argue that the problem with humility might have its roots from God Himself. How is this possible with God? How can we dare to think God is not “humble” and place him at the centre of pride? How can we place God among those blinded by pride or self-conceit? Philosophically, the answer may be found in the “First Commandment” of the “Ten Commandments” where God says, “I am the Lord your God; thou shalt not have any other gods besides [before] me” [Thou shalt have no strange gods before me]. But why would God insist upon humility to the negation of pride in the First Commandment” of the “Ten Commandment?”

Even then, God had foreseen that human pride to preserve oneself and one’s image; even then, God understood that pride is innate in every human person, and that each one of us would have to cultivate humility and live in humility.

Understanding our human nature and our problem with humility, God sent his Son, Jesus, to help us realize that humility contains, provides, and is the source of all other virtues. It is in this context that Jesus in today’s gospel reading recounts to our hearing the Parable of the Wedding Banquet. Jesus recounts the “The Parable of the Wedding Banquet” to remind us about the uselessness in cultivating a spirit of pride or arrogance that impairs us from being individuals who ought to live and move and act in humility – just as meek and humble of heart. Of course, it is difficult to behave as God or Jesus would! However, understanding the word, “humility” and all that it connotes, all it signifies, all it implies, its applicable power and presence in our attitude and behaviour might lead us into becoming humble in every word, deed and action.

· Humility calls us “to gentleness and meekness” – Sirach 3:17.

· Humility is becoming like Jesus who is “meek and humble of heart” – Matt. 11:29. [cf. G & P 629]

· Humility is becoming like “Jesus, the Son of God, who came not to be serve but be serve, and to give his life as ransom for many” – Mk. 10:45.

· Humility is living as Jesus lived – not only for our own selves, but also, for the good and happiness of those in need of true freedom.

Humility is responding to God’s call to use our talents not only to satisfy our own glory, but also for others and their needs, realizing that Jesus shared his talents and his very self so freely with us. Jesus humbled himself and ceased to be God just to be humiliated to the point of dying a shameful death on the tree of the Cross in order to save us.

Humility means that we follow the path that leads to wisdom and freedom, becoming individuals who are amendable, eager to learn and ready to adopt, adapt or change for the better.

· Humility means that we surrender ourselves totally over to God; that we abandon or submerge that misguided spirit of self-righteousness or the “holier-than-thou” attitude in us while allowing God’s Ways to become our way in life. When we give in to God’s Ways, we receive a new and a better self; we receive a new identity in God.

· The sad news is that when we insist on doing things our own way, we exclude God’s Way, which is the only True Way to inner joy and happiness. The good news is that when we assume a new identity in God alone, all pride disappears, and when pride dissipates or disappears from the core of our being – our behaviour and attitude, we are able – like Jesus – to give ourselves to each other in charity and friendship, in utter understanding and compassion, in a spirit reconciliation, pardon and forgiveness.

My dear friends, we must have learnt from “The Parable of the Wedding Banquet” that Jesus does not want to see us being preoccupied only with position and prestige, pride and arrogance, social status and recognition, self-sufficiency and self-glorification. Instead, Jesus wants to see us imitate his meekness; that we make humility the foundation on which stand all relationships or encounters with spouses, parents, siblings, relatives or friends and with all peoples.

Jesus concludes that “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” [cf. Lk. 14:11].

So therefore, as we partake of this Eucharist, let us immerse ourselves in Jesus’ humility so that we may live and move and conduct ourselves as Jesus would!

Father John-Baptist Okai
Priest Moderator
St. Cecilia Parish, Regina SK Canada