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Autor: Fr. Richard Gill, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
September 2, 2007. Homily. Readings: Sirach 3:17–18, 20, 28–29; Hebrews 12:18–19, 22–24; Luke 14:1, 7–14.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C
Readings: Sirach 3: 17–18, 20, 28–29; Hebrews 12: 18–19, 22–24; Luke 14: 1, 7–14
Author: Fr. Richard Gill, LC

A major theme of this week’s readings is the need for humility before God. Sirach describes the virtues of the humble man and the Letter to the Hebrews points out the circumstances of the revelation of the first covenant on Sinai, where God delivered to Moses his expectations of the people he would choose as his own, and the blessing it would mean for them. The Alleluia verse speaks of the revelation to “the little ones” while St. Luke’s Gospel exhorts us to choose the lowest place rather than exalt ourselves and to live with purity of intention - serving others without expecting anything in return.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of the virtue of humility in Jesus’ teaching for those who would follow him. It is essential in order to walk in his footsteps and to receive his teaching in its fullness. Over and over he tells us that, “unless you become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” We need to be humble not only to obey God, but even to hear his voice and understand his Word. The qualities associated with humility are meekness, discretion, docility, and simplicity of heart.

This is a teaching that is difficult to communicate in a culture that emphasizes self-assertion, pride, arrogance, and self-promotion. Our world is one in which it seems counter-intuitive to stress simplicity and meekness. After all, we’ll be stepped on and trampled! Humility seems to be a virtue for losers and those who can’t achieve. It seems no one gets ahead in business by being humble, but rather by selling himself, even if it means exaggerating one’s qualities.

The New Covenant brings about a change in the way we interact with God. He is no longer the one who gives his Law from Mt. Sinai amidst peals of thunder and lightning, but Jesus, the author of the new law of love promulgated by the sacrificial pouring out of his blood on Mt. Zion. The Law to which we must humbly turn our attention and receive is the law of love made perfect in the sacrifice of Christ. It is the completion of all previous revelation and brings it all to perfection.

Following this Christ means living the life he lived, one which was characterized by attentive obedience to the will of his Heavenly Father in all things. He embraced the Cross as his Father’s plan to save mankind. Christ did not humble himself as a mere slave, but as the Beloved Son of the Father, in whom he was well pleased. Thus his humility flows from his exalted status as Son of the Father.

Thanks to the incarnation and the establishment of the New Covenant, we are “no longer called servants, but friends.” The humility we are called to live is in the context of our adopted sonship, as heirs of the Kingdom. This new status we have as “sons in the Son” gives the context for the new kind of humility and charity we are to live.

The Gospel makes this way of life explicit in its practical forms: to look upon ourselves as having received everything we are and have from its true source, God, and acknowledge him as the giver of all blessings. We should choose the lowest place and never think of ourselves as better than anyone else, for all we are is due to God’s grace.

Likewise, we should give what we have and share it with others less fortunate, not in any self-centered, calculated, or utilitarian way, seeking our own personal advantage, but freely and simply. The humble man should live with such purity of intention that he seeks only to please God and find his reward in the life to come, living each day to serve and love his brothers in Christ.

Someone once said there is a world of difference between the person who sees life as a gift and the one who sees life as a given. The one who sees life as a given feels he has a right to take his share and grab for all he can. But the giftedness of our life – our very existence, our life, our health, our family, friends, our call to eternal life, God’s grace and blessing on us –makes a person live with a stance of humility and gratitude for all he has received from the Lord. As Mary said in her Magnificat, “the Almighty has done great things for me, holy is his Name.”

The prayer of St. Ignatius is very helpful in fostering the virtue of humility and disposing us to charity and obedience to God’s will:

Take, Lord, and receive
All my liberty…
My memory, my understanding, and my whole will.
All that I am, and all that I possess, you have given me.
I surrender it all to you, to be disposed of according to your most holy will.
Give me only your love and your grace. With these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.

We must see all we have as a gift from God and never attribute to ourselves, independently of his grace, anything we have achieved. This is the way to form our hearts in humble gratitude and to live with that peace of heart that only true Christian humility can bring us.


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