for Sunday, August 29, 2010
Clearly our focus today is on humility. Humility has probably never been
popular for anyone, even for the best of saints. On the other hand, lots
of saints have practiced humility simply by always putting the well-being
of others ahead of their own well-being. Today we need to listen
attentively to these reading and try to understand what God wants to teach
us about humility.
The Book of Sirach gives us our first reading today. This is a clear
teaching that can only be understood by practicing it. So often wisdom can
only be understood by doing the wise thing and then understanding it later.
Learning to ride a bicycle or learning to swim are practical examples of
this type of wisdom and knowledge that come to us only by doing. We can
understand riding a bicycle or swimming without be able to do either of
them. So also we can understand a bit about humility by only by practicing
it, doing it, can we come to know the depths of this wisdom. The mind of a
sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Today's second reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews, also requires
wisdom and humility to be understood. The author points out that it is not
physical experience here which is forming us, but a deeper knowledge of the
reality of Jesus Christ. Our experience of the Lord Jesus comes from the
physical experience of reading the Scriptures and the physical experience
of the testimony of those who believe. It also leads us beyond that to a
place that only faith can take us.
The Gospel returns openly to the theme of humility and gives a practical
example of humility. All of us have met people who insist on having their
rank recognized or their special gifts. The humble person simply takes a
low place and accepts whatever is given to him or her. Most of us have
probably also seen people with high social rank being humble and not being
recognized for who they are and accepting that.
The challenge today is not about watching others practice humility but
whether we ourselves are willing always to humble ourselves. Humility does
not mean acting humble but actually being humble and drawing no attention
to ourselves. This is why generally why truly humble people are loved so
much. They make life easier for all of us, they take up the burdens and
responsibilities of community without drawing attention to themselves and
they serve others with joy.
These Sunday readings invite each of us to reflect on our own lives. Are
we humble people? Do we seek the Lord Jesus with the humility that He
Himself lived? Are we willing to accept humiliations for the sake of
loving others? Let us pray for these gifts for one another.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: