Monday, September 9, 2013

Late Posting 22ng Sunday in Ordinary time C: To Take the Last Place

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

I learned a word this week – and that would be “high profile”. A journalist explained that “high profile” would refer to anyone or anything that gained the interest of the media.” It did not matter whether it was important or trivial, so long as it has media attention, then it is “high profile.” Isn’t this what many of us desire – if not the status of being “high profile”, at least that of being the object of some form of attention in one way or another. Thus, we promote ourselves by uploading pictures or videos of ourselves over the internet through “you tube” or any other social networking sites.

He humbled Himself and took the form of a slave.
The Lord observed how guest invited to a banquet competed against each other for places of honor at the table. He warned us against it. Instead, we should always take the lowest place. Why is this so? It is because honor is not something we grab for ourselves. Rather, it is something bestowed on us by others. After all, honor does not belong to the honoree but to the one who bestows it. Honor is defined as “high public esteem, fame, or glory.” Such we do not seek nor pursue: “When you are invited to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor…” What we should always seek is the lowest place: “Conduct your affairs with humility…Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not. Into things beyond your strength, search not.” Obviously, this lesson directly opposes what the world teaches us regarding self-assertion and the pursuit of self importance. However, the world is not our teacher. Only Christ is our teacher. Thus he teaches: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Indeed, when our Lord entered this world, he took the lowest place. He became a little child, born of the Virgin. He declared that he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many. Thus, at the last supper, he, our Lord and Master, washed his disciples’ feet and bid us to do the same. He humbled himself, obediently accepting death, death on a Cross. It is Christ who we must imitate: “Your attitude must be that of Christ,” so would St. Paul tell us.

But what does it mean to be truly humble like Jesus? Rafael Merry Cardinal del Val [1865-1930], Secretary of State for Pope St. Pius X, says that humility is freedom from “the desire of being esteemed; from the desire of being loved; from the desire of being extolled; from the desire of being honored; from the desire of being praised; from the desire of being preferred to others; from the desire of being consulted; from the desire of being approved; from the fear of being humiliated; from the fear of being despised; from the fear of suffering rebukes; from the fear of being calumniated; from the fear of being forgotten; from the fear of being ridiculed; from the fear of being wronged; and from the fear of being suspected.” Humility is to desire “that others may be loved more than I; that others may be esteemed more than I; that, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease; that others may be chosen and I set aside; that others may be praised and I unnoticed; that others may be preferred to me in everything; and that others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.”

More important than desiring for early places of honor, we should desire to enter the heavenly banquet of the Kingdom of God. “The Kingdom belongs to the poor and the lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts.” [CCC, 544.] Indeed, when God prepared a banquet, he invited “the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.” Blessed indeed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee

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