Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hidden Way

I had the opportunity to write a few bulletin reflections for our parish. I decided to reprint them here. I've included the date and readings for the Sundays for which the originally appeared.

AUGUST 29, 2010 (Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 – Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a – Luke 14:1, 7-14)

I once heard someone describe the Incarnation as fireworks in reverse, or to quote the Genie from Aladdin, “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space”. The infinite Creator of all things, the all powerful, all knowing Lord of the Universe, became a frail, helpless baby. The Eternal Word of God became an infant incapable of rational speech. The Incarnation was God’s ultimate teachable moment on the subject of humility, the subject of today’s Old Testament and Gospel readings.

Why should we seek the path of humility? Because Jesus did, and if it was good enough for him it’s good enough for us. Yet this runs so counterintuitive to our own nature. We want to be recognized and honored. We want to be first, not last. We desire to be popular, to have popular friends, to sit at the “cool table”. That, my friends, is the effect of Original Sin and it is the cancer at the core of our spiritual life.

Perhaps Blessed Teresa of Calcutta summed it up best when she said, “Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”

Jesus calls us to humility, to be meek and gentile of heart like him, so that we can resist temptation and comprehend our complete dependence on God. Being humble is both easy and difficult. Once we learn to put others ahead of ourselves we can see all kinds of opportunities for humility. From the simple, like allowing others through the door ahead of you, to the more difficult, like letting someone else get the credit for your work, we are called to advance in humility so we can become more like Jesus.

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