Wednesday, August 28, 2013

22nd Sunday in OT (C) - On Humility

Luke 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2013

GOSPEL READING: Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts

On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, 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.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


The teaching in the Gospel would be more than a practical advice for every gathering.   It is more than that; Jesus is trying to give us an advice.   Jesus’ teaching is a direction for living in His kingdom.  The wedding feast can be likened to God’s Kingdom.  The feast is an apt image of joy and happiness, which God prepares for those who respond to Jesus’ invitation.    The invitation is indiscriminate and gratuitous.  Everyone is called to enter the Kingdom.  The wealthy and worthy people had no special or exclusive claim in the Kingdom.  The guest list also included the marginalized sector of the society...the poor, the blind, the lame; the outcasts, who cannot return the favor of inviting back the host or repay debt to the person who invited them.

The Lord provides a message to all of us who have a tendency to become so locked into the social status-seeking syndrome of our day that our friends do. Most of the time, we are too taken up with the scrambling for the first places in all our undertakings and assume God’s role of determining who will be first and last at the messianic banquet. We are too busy making friends and influencing people to realize that God’s banquet invitation includes the poor. We forget our needy neighbors. The “outcasts” are seldom part of the guest list as they cannot promote our climb to the social ladder.

In a self-serving culture, with its me-first mentality, wishing to be the last is not a popular concept.   Some may aim for the most prominent position, even prominence in the Church.  Everybody wants to be first, to lead, no one wants to be a servant... Even Christians want  to be servant leader and not just plain servants....What an irony! But to be like Jesus, is to be a servant.... That is what HE called Himself...and what He is teaching us... the virtue of Humility.

What is Humility? 

Humility is the characteristic and distinctive virtue of our Lord Jesus.  The virtue He loved above all others and recommends in His discourses.  The virtue that He supported by His own example, which inspired His friends to practice and recompense in His saints.

What a great part, HUMILITY plays in the life of Jesus.  It animates His acts, and all His mysteries are its manifestations. Humility held Him concealed nine (9) months in Mary’s womb.  Humility placed Him to be born in a stable in swaddling clothes. Humility directs the words and actions of His public life. So humble was He, that He washed the feet of His apostles.  It was the same virtue that put Him on the cross.   

_*/ This is the virtue derived from temperance and it enables us to restrain the inordinate desire for our own excellence giving us a true evaluation of our smallness and misery before God.   Humility’s proper function is to moderate the desire for our own greatness, and all moderation belongs to the virtue of temperance.
_*/ Humility is a fundamental virtue in spiritual life, because it removes the obstacles to the reception of grace.  Scripture expressly states that God resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble.   (James 4:6).
_*/ Various classification of the degree of humility have been prepared by saints and spiritual writers, but they all agree on the basic element.  A familiarity with the degree of humility is of great help in examining oneself in regard to the principal internal and external manifestations of this virtue.  St. Bernard simplifies the degree of humility as follows:
1)    Sufficient humility   to subject oneself to superior and not to prefer oneself to one’s equal.
2)    Abundant humility – to subject oneself to one’s equal and not to prefer oneself to one’s inferior.
3)    Super abundant humility – to subject oneself to one’s inferiors.

_*/ The 3 degrees of humility described by St. Ignatius Loyola are not restricted to the virtue of humility but refer to the self-abnegation required in the Christian life as follows:

1)     Necessary humility   (the humility necessary for salvation) namely, that in all things, we obey the law of God and never do anything that would involve the commission of a mortal sin;

2)    Perfect humility   that is we would not care to have riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short life, so long as we can serve God so faithfully that we would not commit a deliberate venial sin for the entire world.

3)    The most perfect humility – that is, in imitation of Christ, we prefer to be poor with Christ, to suffer opprobrium with Christ and to be considered a poor with Christ, rather than to be wealthy or honored or considered wise by the world.

(_*/  excerpt from Spiritual Theology J. Aumann, O.P.)

“Humility does not come upwards by downwards.  It does not mean that the lesser one respectfully acknowledge the greater, BUT that the greater, reverently bends to the lower one”.   (Romano Guardini)

As we follow God’s teachings on humility, one will increasingly know that God is very much alive in our life.    Our activities will begin to reflect our actions.  Our inner life will speak of humility.  Thus, our relationship with others will become more satisfying....To God be the Glory!!!!

With the Lord’s invitation, let us all come to the feast and partake the food He has prepared for us at the Table of Plenty.

Come to the feast of heaven and earth
Come to the table of plenty
God will provide for all that we need
Here at the table of plenty
O come and sit at my table –
where saints and sinners are friend
I wait to welcome the lost and lonely
to share the cup of my love
O come and eat without money
come to drink without price
my feast of gladness will feed your spirit
with faithfulness  of life
my bread will ever sustain you
through sorrow and woe
my wine will flow like a  sea of gladness
to flood the depth of your soul.

 Dan Schuffe


SR. MARY FAITH OF THE DIVINE MERCY, O.P. is a first year novice of the Contemplative Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Adoration in Queen of Angels Monastery in Bocaue, Bulacan.


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Nuns, Humility, Service

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