jesus-good-shepherd-06Dear Brothers,

Humility is not easy for any of us. The Scriptures often encourage us to live humbly but we can find ourselves resisting. Today the Scriptures want to teach us more about the gift of this virtue.

The first reading comes from the Book of Sirach, part of the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures. It is almost a hymn to humility but also exhorts us to appreciate proverbs and to listen well to others. Anyone who lives in a community, perhaps a family or a parish or even a religious community, can understand how important it is to listen to others. In order to listen to the other person, I must put my own way of thinking and my own thoughts aside so that I can truly understand what the other person is saying.

The second reading today comes from the Letter to the Hebrews. This reading wants us to realize the immense mystery that we encounter in Jesus Christ but also in all of creation and especially in other human beings. We are always approaching God in every moment of our lives. Yes we remain unaware of His presence. He is always with us in Himself, in His creation and in one another. His presence is a devouring fire if we let it be.

The Gospel from Saint Luke gives us a story about a person who goes to a banquet and takes a high place and then is asked to move down. This is simply wisdom: don’t look for the high place because someone greater than you is bound to show up and you will feel a fool. Most of us are not the top people in the world! So we should not act as if we are entitled to the top treatment. We will only get embarrassed. This seems such a simple lesson and a practical one.

At the level of spirituality, we can also begin to think that God must make all things wonderful for us and do as we ask Him in prayer. Life is not that way. God wants to form us so that we truly love and serve others. In order to do that, we must experience our own smallness and come to value our smallness and nothingness. We have numerous examples in the Scripture of those who were humble and were then lifted up—but spiritually. Chief among such people is always Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

If only we will undertake this journey to humility, we will come to know the joys of serving others, of helping others towards God, or being able to see reality with the eyes of God’s love. If it looks a bit scary at first, we must not run away. As we persevere in humility we come to know the deepest love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Father Jesus