22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11 (see 11b)
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14
August 28, 2022
“Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.” We are told that some of the people were “observing him carefully.” Hopefully, some of them were observing him to learn from him but we know from other verses, many observed him hoping to trap him in a way to prove He was not the Messiah.
Jesus observes their behavior too. He noticed “how they were choosing places of honor.” They had pride in their hearts. The leaders did have a particular role to play but it was not for their own honor. It was for the glory of God and the good of his people.
Jesus wants to help them so he offers them a parable. He does so here in terms they can relate to. He knows the pride they have and He cautions them against it.
He does so by pointing out that if they rush to take the places of honor, “a more distinguished guest” may come. Then, they will be asked to change their seat. Then, it would be obvious to everyone that they had made themselves out to look more important than they were. They would be embarrassed.
Jesus tells them to “take the lowest place.” Then, they need not fear being embarrassed. In fact, they might even be asked to move to a “higher position,” something that might appeal to their pride.
How important do we make ourselves out to be? Do we seek to exalt ourselves? This would be pride, one of the seven deadly sins. We are called to the virtue of humility.
Humility does not mean that we can’t acknowledge the good we do. We can do good through the gifts that God has given us. In fact, God wants us to do good. Yet, it is not to look good that we do it. We do it because it is good and we give the glory to God.
For example, it may be tempting to invite important people to our house to make ourselves look good. Jesus offers a better way. He tells us to “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Why invite them? Because they need our help. It is not for our glory but to do what is right. God will see what is in our hearts as we do this.
Remember Jesus’ words, “For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Sirach calls us to “conduct our affairs with humility” and says we actually become better in the way that matters to God when we humble ourselves.
In humility we are called to treat others with dignity as equal. We are to treat them with gentleness and courtesy.
If we are prideful, we might try to do things that are beyond us. Sirach cautions us to not search for things beyond our strength. In humility, we accept what we cannot and do not need to do everything ourselves.
In humility we recognize that we do not know everything. Therefore, as Sirach says we should “appreciate proverbs” and listen with “an attentive ear” to learn more on how God calls us to live.
God gives us an example of humility. He is God yet He humbles himself to care for those in need. He is the “father of orphans” and “defender of widows.” “God gives a home to the forsaken.”
We are called to do good things. We don’t do it on our own. We count on God to give us our daily bread. We count on strength and wisdom from God.
Where do we go for this?
God can give us grace in many ways. It starts in coming to Mass. At Mass we receive wisdom in hearing God’s Word from the Bible. We celebrate the Eucharist, the bread of life.
It seems some people come to Mass only once in a while when it is convenient or they need a pick me up. I encourage you to come every week to receive what God offers us. Put God first. There is nothing more important for us than what God offers us at Mass. Humble yourself before God and God will bless you with what you need.