Sept. 1, 2019
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Followers of Jesus,
We are all anxious to find our place in life. The young worry about what class in school will assure them a place in college. Some people wonder about who will marry them if they know how much baggage they carry from the past. Others send out hundreds of resumes to find a place not only for employment but a place that will facilitate their real gifts. We struggle to get ahead. We search to find the real place in life where our true voice will be known and shared.
Today’s gospel, Luke 14:1, 7-14, invites us into a profound humility. Humility is certainly a journey into life. Several months ago I reached in front of a woman to access an item in a drug store. I did not say, “excuse me” or “I am sorry.” Afterward, I felt my reach was really selfish. At that moment, I was very self absorbed. By that time, it was too late. Sometimes in our lives we know we have reached beyond our bounds. This is the invitation in today’s gospel, to understand our place in life. I think this is one of the toughest lessons we learn.
This lesson is not easy because some people believe they have earned a place greater than how their lives have turned out. Some people believe that if they have earned a living, found a job and have enough emotional stability to keep it, then everybody should lift themselves by their own bootstraps and earn their own place. They may even put others down because they have achieved power and purpose in the world. Looking down on people is very easy to incorporate into our lives, no matter our maturity.
Humility requires deep patience. Learning to acknowledge people from our lives of self-sufficiency is never easy. Humility invites us to constantly reflect on our lives. When we finally come to the conclusion that we live the life we have and not the life we think we should have, we will come to know and understand the movement of God within us. God desires to break down our bloated egos in order to accompany us in life. The reason for our humility on earth is so we can truly live in God, making room for love, forgiveness, and compassion within us.
The gospel also explores hospitality as a genuine attribute of the Christian. If we can learn to accept other people, to listen to their needs, to accept the brokenness of the other, then we can learn to sit at the same table with strangers. This circle of souls is the core of the sacred Eucharist. The Mass itself teaches us that humility is a value not only so we can find our place in God but that we can also lift up people who most need us in life. The poor teach us humility when they constantly feel powerless in the world. This is the reason we serve, feed and house people who long to be seated among us. This is the reality of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Blessings in this new week,
Bulletin Update: Beginning this Sunday, Sept. 1, the parish bulletin will temporarily become a bi-monthly publication. The bulletins from the previous week will be distributed on the “off” weeks.