22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28, 2016
In this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 14: 1,7–14), Jesus is at a dinner engagement. He has been invited by some of the leading Pharisees, and it’s the third one of these dinners that we hear about it Luke’s Gospel. One can’t imagine that Jesus enjoyed this very much, since it’s obvious that he was invited in order to be cross-examined and watched while he ate and conversed. It is obvious that Jesus was being judged negatively by these people. But guess what? Jesus is watching them too!
The Lord observes all our actions and hidden motives of the heart. He is a hidden guest at every dinner or social gathering that we are at; he is present in every conversation; he is aware of everything that we do. The Lord observes our actions and the secret motives of our heart. Here we find a group of ”religious leaders” lacking in humility. They were trying to impress each other, vying for the top seats at the table and posture to improve their social standing. Many of us experience the same thing in our day. While these people thought they knew and understood the Scriptures, like many of us, they needed an education in what really matters most to God.
Am I actually a person of humility? Think for a moment about who Jesus Christ was: creator of the universe, who became a human being for our sake. Now that’s humility. He wants to give us a place in the heavens as eternal beings as “children of God” with all that that implies, but first, we must begin this eternal journey with our earthly experience of being fragile, vulnerable creatures who live in a mortal world. This is partly to teach us humility before we have the ability to move in with God permanently!
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that test our humility. How we react to situations like these help us see how “humble” we are:
- When I do something nice and get criticized for it.
- When I give the gift that is not thanked for or appreciated.
- When I am passed over for a promotion I thought I was qualified for.
- If I tend to dominate or interrupt in conversations.
- When my opinion is not valued or is criticized inordinately.
- When I am extremely inconvenienced.
- How I treat others when I’m in charge of something or have power.
You, of course, can come up with your own list. God permits us to experience many situations like these, so we can grow in humility. Once we realize we are in a lifelong school of patience and humility and that our Lord is the teacher, it becomes much easier to pass these tests!