Twenty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time
August 31-September 1, 2019
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Teachers and students return to school. Most families and people have finished their vacations, as organizations begin their regularly scheduled meetings, life takes on a more rigid routine, as the days begin to take on a repetitive rhythm.
How we live these days often determines who we are as people and Christians. Our schedule is filled with doing things; sometimes for ourselves, sometimes for others. However, often our schedule is filled with thankless jobs and duties.
It’s natural to desire the occasional ‘pat on the back,’ but we must be careful not to let recognition be the driving force for our actions. In those moments we must ask ourselves, ‘Why?’ Why are we really doing these good deeds?
The first line of today’s First Reading advises us as to how to ensure we do things for the right reason. The second sentence from this excerpt from the Book of Sirach forces us to examine our motives. It requires a bit of soul searching.
The Book of Sirach counsels us to “conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”
In the Gospel, Jesus gives us concrete examples of how to live a life of humility. Yet His advice is contrary to all our instincts. Be last, not first. Take the lowest, not the highest position. Welcome the outcast, not the popular and powerful, into your life.
A life of humility may not be easy, but it is one of fulfillment. As C.S. Lewis reminds us, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Patrick J. Perkins