Our lesson this weekend, as we continue to journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, is how to be humble. Our first reading tells us “to conduct our affairs with humility” and that we find favor with God when we humble ourselves. In the Gospel, Jesus uses two parables to underscore that “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
These passages are not talking about “being humble” as we commonly use it in the sense of being put down or embarrassed. HUMILITY comes from the Latin word humus which means EARTH. Humility means to have your feet on the ground, to be in touch with reality. Being humble, in the biblical sense, means recognizing the gifts you have, but knowing that they came from God.
Once we truly recognize that all we are and have are gifts from God, two things flow from this realization: first, I have no right to elevate myself over others, to feel superior to others, just because God chose to give me more. Second, these gifts are given to me to be used for others. Remember the rich man and Lazarus? The rich man did nothing wrong like fraud, cheating, etc., as far as we know; his failure was using God’s gifts only for himself, ignoring those in need. Jesus emphasizes this in our Gospel this weekend by telling us to invite those to our table who cannot repay us. We need to use the gifts of time, talent, and treasure that we have been given in a generous way, especially to help the needy, who cannot repay us.
I invite us to reflect this weekend on the many gifts that God has given us, asking ourselves how well we do at using these gifts, not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but also to help others. God has been very generous with us; how generous are we with others?
Church sign of the week: The reason you have two hands: one to help yourself, one to help others.