22ND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
The readings for this Sunday are all about humility, a virtue that doesn’t seem to be valued that much in our world. These days, it’s all about how many “friends” we have on Facebook, how many followers we have on Twitter. But for all of today’s technology we can still pick up on someone whose humility is done for show, whose humbleness is not the real thing and there are people like that around and about. Humility is about: being real, being grounded. Accepting and sharing our gifts without fanfare; acknowledging and accepting our own faults without undue self-recrimination. If we live a virtually unrecognized life of goodness and quiet service, sooner or later someone will praise us in some way. We thank God for all the things that come to us and humbly acknowledge that we were using the gifts of God for the good of all. It is his grace that has produced the right attitude within us to live in a humble way. To me, generosity involves the giving of one’s time, talent, or money for the common good without thought of personal recompense and without thought of scrutinizing the recipients. For people who want to seek a more human and fraternal world, Jesus says that welcoming the poor and needy must rank before all other relationships or social conventions.
Many people do this quite effectively and seem to match Jesus’s expectation perfectly. Some people, however, widen their giving to include the less fortunate but maintain a certain level of superiority to the recipients which is wrong. Jesus’s message in this Gospel Reading is unconditional giving of oneself and one’s resources and it needs to be done willingly according to Jesus’s direction rather than to further one’s own motives as those who were seeking the best seats in the Gospel were trying to do. Being humble is something we are, something we learn through living fully with our successes and our failures, and never forgetting our dependence on God our merciful Father. St. Augustine once said, “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues; hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” Without humility, our compassion is meager; our mercy, condescending. Real humility takes awareness and acceptance of our real selves which is why it is so hard for us to achieve. May we be the Humble people that we are called to be in the Gospel of this Sunday accepting our real selves so that that we may use our God given gifts wisely in the service of others.