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Humility, Joy, Freedom
Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Luke 14:1, 7-11
On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come to you, as my creator and redeemer to thank you for the gift of my life, my talents, my family, and my faith. Please give me the graces of humility, joy, and strength of character.
- Humility: Jesus was dining with a “leading Pharisee” and people were jostling for attention and seats of honor. This kind of human behavior is very familiar to us. Our natural inclination is to seek the best for ourselves at the expense of our neighbor. The virtue of humility counteracts this tendency. A humble person recognizes God as the author of all creation, and knows that he is dust and to dust he will return. He knows his worth as a child of God, and depends entirely on God’s grace to live virtuously. If a humble person is given honor, he attributes it to the gifts and talents he has received from God. He is comfortable with himself as a “work in progress.” Proud and vain people eye each other while a humble person has eyes only for God.
- Joy: Jesus promised in this Scripture passage that the humble would be exalted. Is there any greater joy than being drawn closer to God in exaltation? God also exalts us when he allows our light to shine before others for his glory. When we are humble enough to be “real” with people, and to allow our true selves to love purely and mercifully, pride is tamped down and joy floods into our hearts. “The humble are necessarily joyful, for where there is no pride, there can be no self-centeredness, which makes joy impossible,” said Fulton J. Sheen.
- Freedom: Imagine the inner turmoil of the Pharisee’s guests as they sought positions of honor at the table. Their minds were likely busy with comparisons, judgments, and guardedness. A humble person would feel none of these anxieties. Free of negativity and distractions, he or she would be focused on warmly greeting other guests, and most importantly, on acknowledging and attending to Jesus. May humility be the source of our security rather than wealth, honors, or esteem.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, when my mind is jumbled and busy, grant me the grace to see if I am exalting myself in any way. Am I selfishly seeking power, honor, or wealth? Help me to reorient myself, acknowledging that you are Creator and I am your beloved creature. May I attribute my success to you and accept my failures as my own.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will recall the gifts you have given me and see how they can be used for your glory.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on this line from Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Written by Renee Pomarico.