Humility and Work – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2013

I think we get confused about what humility is.  Sometimes humility is interpreted as the opposite of pride.  In its sinful meaning, pride means to make ourselves look good (maybe even better than everyone else) and to take all the credit ourselves.

So we interpret humility to mean we never speak about the good things we do.  We can be humble and still acknowledge the good that we do, as long as we acknowledge we do good because of the help of God and others.  In humility we do not think of ourselves as any better than anyone else but neither are we any worse than anyone else.  We are all created equal before God.

Some people try to make themselves look better than they are.  Here Sirach speaks of those who try to live beyond what is within their means.  Sometimes it just seems all we need is a little more money or a little bigger home.  Or maybe we think if we just get that promotion at work, then we can make things right.

Sometimes a little more does help, thinking of those who live in poverty but how do we go about getting that little bit more?

Do we sell our souls to the devil just trying to get that little bit more?

It can seem simple.  I’ve presided at weddings for couples who wait until their 30’s to marry.  Some of them say they intentionally waited to “settle down and start a family” till they got their careers established.  It makes sense and in some ways is a good thing.  But then I wonder does the career end up dominating?  We say when we are young, we’ll work the extra hours just long enough to get established, and then scale back.  This can be great as long as you are able to scale back but for many the long hours never end.

On Monday we celebrate Labor Day.  I think for a lot of people, Labor Day is seen as one of two things.  Either it is unofficial end of summer, a chance for one more picnic, or it is just a good reason to take a long weekend.

There’s nothing wrong with a picnic or a long weekend but Labor Day was not started for either of these.  Labor Day was started to recognize the good we do at work and to promote good working conditions.

As we celebrate this Labor Day, what does it mean for you?  How do you view work?  Does your work fulfill you?  Do you think your work is important?  Do you help others by what you do?  Do you do a good job?

Or is work something you do to make yourself look good?

Is work something you do just to have money to play with?

Some people see “work” as a bad four-letter word.  Work is not a bad thing.  We are created to “work” but not just to work.  God gives each of us gifts to help make the world a better place.  We can find fulfillment in work.  Work is not just our job.  Work extends beyond what we do for pay.

What makes you feel fulfilled?



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