O.T. XXII [C] (Aug 28) Eight-minute homily in one page (L/22)
Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the importance practicing humility and avoiding self-glorification or pride. Humility enables us first to accept others as God’s children, our brothers and sisters, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. It also encourages us to do loving and sacrificial service to them by acts of charity, mercy and forgiveness. It enables us to accept us as we are before God with all our defects and demerits. It also prompts us to be thankful to God for giving us His blessings, talents and capabilities and strengthening us every day by His grace. It is humility which opens our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to the poor, the needy, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized people in our society, thus practicing Christ’s option for the poor. Today’s Gospel teaches us that we must act with humility and see ourselves as the servants of the community rather than those whom the community might feel honored to serve.
Scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the book of Sirach, reminds us that if we are humble, we will find favor with God, and others will love us. The second reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, gives another reason for us to be humble, comparing and contrasting the frightening majesty of the Old Testament God with the meek and humble New Testament God in the person of Jesus. Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God humbled Himself, taking on human flesh and choosing to die the most humiliating death by crucifixion. In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the practical benefits of humility, connecting it with the common wisdom about dining etiquette. Jesus advises the guests to go to the lowest place instead of seeking places of honor, so that the host may give them the place they really deserve. Jesus’ words concerning the seating of guests at a wedding banquet should prompt us to honor those whom others ignore, because if we are generous and just in our dealings with those in need, we can be confident of the Lord’s blessings.
Life Message: We need to practice humility in personal and social life: In personal lives we become humble when we realize that everything we have is a loving gift from God and, therefore, we have no reason to elevate ourselves above others. True humility requires that we neither overestimate us nor underestimate our worth. We must admit the truths that we are sinners, that we do not know everything, and that we do not always act properly. Nevertheless, we must also recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and that we are called to help build the kingdom of God with our God-given gifts. We are of value, not because of those gifts, but because we are loved by God as His children and redeemed by the precious blood of His son Jesus. Such a conviction should lead us to associate ourselves with the so-called marginalized or “lower classes” of the society — even the outcasts, because they too are the children of the same God. Such a humble heart will change our social patterns in such a way that we connect with and serve the homeless, the handicapped, the elderly, and the impoverished – the “street people” of the world – with agápe love. The family life also becomes holier and more enjoyable when the husband and wife, in all humility, accept each other as God’s gifts and show the generosity and good will to serve each other, forgive each other and offer their lives prayerfully and sacrificially for the welfare of their children.
OT 22 [C] (Aug 28): Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a; Lk 14:1, 7-14
Homily starter anecdotes
Cardinal Léger’s option for the poor: Most Rev. Paul-Émile Léger served as Archbishop of Montreal from 1950 to 1968, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII. He was one of the most powerful men in Canada and within the Catholic Church. He was a man of deep conviction and humility. Then on April 20, 1968 he resigned his office with Pope’s special permission. After leaving his red vestments, crosier, miter, and pallium in his Montreal office, disappeared. Years later, he was found living among the lepers and disabled, outcasts of a small African village. When a Canadian journalist asked him, “Why?” here is what Cardinal Léger had to say: “It will be the great scandal of the history of our century that 600 million people are eating well and living luxuriously and three billion people starve, and every year millions of children are dying of hunger. I am too old to change all that. The only thing I can do which makes sense is to be present. I must simply be in the midst of them. So, just tell people in Canada that you met an old priest. I am a priest who is happy to be old and still a priest and among those who suffer. I am happy to be here and to take them into my heart.” (http://www.rockies.net/~spirit/sermons/a-or09-2-keeping.php — Is that your calling? Is it mine? Probably not. Today’s Gospel says: “Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (For a short biography of Cardinal Leger visit: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/leger_paul_emile_22E.html. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/
2) Mother Teresa’s Humility List: 1. Speak as little as possible about yourself. 2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.3. Avoid curiosity.4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others. 5. Accept small irritations with good humor. 6. Do not dwell on the faults of others. 7. Accept censures even if unmerited. 8. Give in to the will of others. 9. Accept insults and injuries. 10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded. 11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone. 12. Do not seek to be admired and loved. 13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity. 14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right. 15. Choose always the more difficult task.
Learn to be humble by doing all the humble work and doing it for Jesus. You cannot learn humility from books; you learn it by accepting humiliations. Humiliations are not meant to torture us; they are gifts from God. These little humiliations—if we accept them with joy—will help us to be holy, to have a meek and humble heart like Jesus. (St. Teresa of Calcutta). (https://www.goodcatholic.com/mother-teresa-humility-list/).
3) The humble Gandhi: One man who took Jesus seriously was Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi acknowledged that he had been much influenced by the Gospels and touched by the life of Christ. As he once remarked, “I might have become a Christian had it not been for Christians!” Gandhi did not lead the masses by standing like a monarch above them but by identifying with them and sharing in their circumstances. He identified himself with the half-naked rural masses by rejecting his attorney’s pants and coat and dressing himself with a loincloth and cotton shawl. While the other high caste Indian politicians were not willing to associate themselves with the untouchables, Gandhi chose to live, eat and march with the untouchables, and he gave them a new dignity and a new name. He honored them by calling them “harijans,” “the people of God.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4) America’s “First Lady of Etiquette,” Emily Post, versus Jesus Christ: Luke 14 focuses on etiquette for guests and hosts at dinner parties. I thought I should see what the original “Miss Manners,” Emily Post, had to say on that subject in her “Emily Post’s Etiqutte”. So, I consulted the twelfth edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette. (Centennial edition published in 2022). I learned to kneel, kiss his ring, and address him as “Your Holiness” when having a private audience with the Pope. I learned replies to lunch invitations to the White House must always be handwritten and always returned that same day — and the answer is always, “Yes.” Emily Post was very specific about planning formal dinners. Seating charts were included showing which seats the guests of honor should get. Who’s seated next to whom is also important. Emily Post sums it up: “The requisites for a perfect formal dinner … are … Guests who are congenial, Servants who are competent, A lovely table setting — Food that is perfectly prepared … A cordial and hospitable host and a charming hostess” (and a good seating chart). — But there is another source we can turn to on how to throw a perfect party. The source is Scripture. And the “etiquette expert” is Jesus himself. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives guidance on party protocol while attending a formal dinner. When God is throwing a party, all the “right” people will be there — that is everyone who responds to (God’s) invitation. But seated next to the host (Jesus) in the places of honor are not the dignitaries, the celebrities, the distinguished people of position and prominence, but rather the poor, the hurting, the outcast — people who have distinguished themselves only by their need. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the need for true humility which leads to a generous blessed sharing with the needy. The readings warn us against all forms of pride and self-glorification. They present humility not only as a virtue but also as a means of opening our hearts, our minds, and our hands to the poor, the needy, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized of society. For Jesus, the daily human needs of the poor are the personal responsibility of every authentic, humble believer. In addition, humility is the mother not only of peace, but also of many virtues, like obedience, fear, reverence, patience, modesty, meekness, and gentleness. The first reading, taken from the book of Sirach, reminds us that if we are humble, we will find favor with God, and others will love us. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 68) shows us God’s eternal awareness of the least of His children. The Psalm Refrain has us sing, “God, in Your Goodness, You have made a Home for the Poor!” while the verse reminds us, “The Father of orphans and the Defender of widows is God in His Holy Dwelling. / God gives a home to the forsaken; He leads forth prisoners to prosperity.”(vv 6-7). The second reading, taken from Hebrews, after contrasting the majestic God of the Old Testament with the huble God of the New Testament, gives another reason for us to be humble. Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God humbled Himself, taking on human flesh and living our lives so that he might die to save us. He invites his followers to learn how to live from him because he is “meek and humble of heart. Paul reminds us that Jesus was lowly, particularly in his suffering and death for our salvation (Heb 2:5-18), so we should be like him that we may be exalted with him at the resurrection of the righteous. Paul seems to imply that we have to follow Christ’s example of humility in our relationships with the less fortunate members of our society. In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the practical benefits of humility, connecting it with the common wisdom about dining etiquette (see Prv 25:6-7; Sir 3:17-20). Jesus advises the guests to go to the lowest place instead of seeking places of honor so that the host may give them the place they deserve. Jesus’ words concerning the seating of guests at a wedding banquet should prompt us to honor those whom others ignore, because if we are generous and just in our dealings with those in need, we can be confident of the Lord’s blessings. On the other hand, if we act out of pride and selfishness, we can be sure that our efforts will come to nothing.
The first reading, (Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29) explained: Today’s reading, taken from Sirach, gives a lesson in humility. Jesus ben Sirach was a Jerusalem sage living about 200 years before Jesus of Nazareth. This selection, taken from his book of moral instruction and proverbs, is part of the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Scriptures. As a world traveler (34:12-13) and a respected scribe and teacher, Jesus ben Eleazar ben Sirach, presided as the headmaster of an academy for young men (57:23-30). Today’s reading presents excerpted portions of two of ben Sirach’s short essays, the first on humility (3:17-24), the second on docility, almsgiving and social conduct (3:25-4:10). Like a parent or an elder brother offering wise counsel, the author recommends that his readers find true greatness in living humbly. “Conduct your affairs in humility,” ben Sirach writes. “The more you humble yourselves, the greater you are.” He instructs us to be honest about ourselves and to become conscious of our limitations, acknowledging our true position before God as creatures and sinners. Humble people do not deny their gifts and talents. They recognize that their gifts and talents come from God and use them accordingly.
The second reading: (Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24) explained: The Letter to the Hebrews was written in the last quarter of first century AD. Although many of the apostolic eyewitnesses to Jesus had died, the expected Second Coming of Jesus had not taken place. So, the Hebrew Christians (Judeo-Christians), subjected to hostilities from both Judaism and the Roman Empire, grew lax in their Christian commitment. Hence, the author of Hebrews asks his readers to choose either the ways of the former Covenant, symbolized by the fire, storm, darkness, trumpet blast, and the Voice, speaking words that they begged not to hear, or the ways of the new Covenant, mediated by Jesus and celebrated by the angels and the assembly of the firstborn. St. Paul compares and contrasts the picture of God in the Old Testament with that found in the New Testament. Instead of the frightening manifestation of God’s glory under the Old Covenant, the New Testament offers the picture of a loving and humble God as revealed by Christ. Christ did not humble himself as a mere slave, but as the Beloved Son of the Father, in whom the Father was well pleased. Thus, his humility flows from his exalted status as Son of the Father. Paul seems to imply that we need to follow Christ’s example of humility in our relationship with those members of our society less fortunate than we. We are gathered around “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.” Jesus was lowly, particularly in his suffering and death for our salvation (Heb 2:5-18). If we are humble, like Jesus, and with him, we will be exalted with him at the resurrection of the righteous. We are challenged here to imitate Jesus whose “sprinkled blood” saved all his sisters and brothers who choose to be saved. We are all called to give of ourselves for others, to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of those who most need our compassion and care.
Gospel exegesis: Instruction at a party: The reason why Jesus was invited to the Sabbath dinner, given for his friends by a prominent Pharisee, was that he was already a sort of celebrity, noted for curing the sick. People are always drawn toward celebrities. But Jesus was not interested in such fame. Without putting on an air of superiority, he used the occasion to teach a lesson about the Kingdom, presenting humility as the essential condition for God’s invitation to His Heavenly banquet. Humility must be expressed in the recognition of one’s lowliness before God and one’s need for salvation. Based on his observation of a gross breach of social etiquette at that party, Jesus taught those Jewish religious teachers what genuine humility was and what the dangers of pride were. “Go and take the lowest place,” Jesus recommends, “so that when the host comes to you he may say, `My friend, move up to a higher position.'” In other words, we are always to situate ourselves in such a manner that the only way we can go is up.
Humility and its importance: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am,” boasted the great boxer Mohammed Ali. Humility is “not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” (C.S. Lewis). Others remind us that: “Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real.” (Thomas Merton). However, a common theme in the definitions of this virtue, is that: “humility equals realism” (James Kinn, 22C, p. 285.) In other words, “humility involves measuring myself by Reality; it involves relating myself realistically to God and others.” (Kinn, p. 285). Humility is an attempt to try to see ourselves as God sees us. True humility is recognizing that everything good we have, comes from God. A humble person is one who knows one’s gifts and talents and is thankful to God for them. Humility does not imply denying our gifts, or not sharing our talents with others. God made us. We, in turn, are thankful to God for those gifts, and show our thankfulness by using our talents in service to one another. The word humility comes from the Latin word humus which means “fertile soil.” In other words, to be humble is to be ready to accept who we are, especially with our talents, abilities, limitations, and weaknesses. Humility does not mean thinking less of ourselves. It means living as Jesus lived – not for ourselves, but for others. For just as pride is the root of all sins, “humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation and bond of all virtue,” as St. John Chrysostom once remarked.
When God became man, He chose to occupy the lowest possible seat. Paul describes in Phil 2:7-8, the six steps in humility that God took in coming to this earth. “Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” Humility was Jesus’ favorite theme. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11); “Whoever humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of God” (Matthew 18:4); “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart”(Matthew 11:29). Humility is a strange phenomenon. As a rule, when we discover we have it, we lose it. Humility is like a rare flower — put it on display, and it instantly wilts and loses its fragrance! St. Augustine said: “Humility is so necessary for Christian perfection that among all the ways to reach perfection, humility is first, humility is second, and humility is third.” He added, “Humility makes men angels, and pride makes angels devils.” St. Bernard declared, “Pride sends man from the highest elevation to the lowest abyss, but humility raises him from the lowest abyss to the highest elevation.”
Humility with a hook: Both pride and false humility are self-deceptions which blind us to this path. Pride makes us self-centered and so full of our own importance that there is no place for God in our lives. Here is a portion of one of Mother Teresa’s exhortations to her novices: “If I try to make myself as small as I can, I’ll never become humble. It is humility with a hook. True humility is truth. Humility comes when I stand as tall as I can, and look at all of my strengths, and the reality about me, but put myself alongside Jesus Christ. And it’s there, when I humble myself before Him, and realize the truth of who he is, when I accept God’s estimate of myself, stop being fooled about myself and impressed with myself, that I begin to learn humility. The higher I am in grace, the lower I should be in my own estimation because I am comparing myself with the Lord God.” Thus, humility is an attempt to see ourselves as God sees us. It is also the acknowledgement that our talents come from God who has seen it fit to work through us. Baron Rothschild once, when asked about seating important guests, said, “Those that matter won’t mind where they sit, and those who do mind, don’t matter.” In their efforts to encourage such humility at every level of the hierarchy of the Church, Latin American theologians challenged believers to develop and foster “a preferential option for the poor.” Jesus understood that the daily human needs of the poor are the personal responsibility of every authentic humble believer.
Lesson in true humility: In today’s Gospel story, Jesus gives his host a lesson in humility. “When you hold a banquet, don’t invite friends or relatives or wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather invite the poor, the cripples, the lame, and the blind, who are unable to repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” St Francis expressed this attitude perfectly when he said: “What I am before God is what I am, and nothing more.“ Thomas Carlyle, the British historian, put it succinctly, “Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are.” The Pharisees were preoccupied with “earning” a high place in heaven. Jesus counsels them to practice what they preach about God’s concern for the poor and thereby to gain true merit. In other words, Jesus suggests, “Do something really different! Invite to your parties the people who have little to bring with them. The blessing, recognition and benefit you are worried about will come, though not through the means you expect.” The freedom that comes with knowing we are loved and sustained by God is a freedom to give generously of our resources, to give the best place to others without concern for ourselves. Just as Jesus challenges his fellow guests, so he challenges us. He warns us that those who will be saved will not be people like the Pharisees. The deeper message of this parable is that if we exalt ourselves, we are going to face embarrassment before the judgment seat of God, the Host who has invited us to the banquet of life.
Life Messages: 1) We need to practice humility in personal and social life: Humility is grounded in a psychological awareness that everything I have is a gift from God, and, therefore, I have no reason to boast. I must not use these God-given gifts to elevate myself above others. Hence, humility means the proper understanding of our own worth. It requires us neither to overestimate nor to underestimate our worth. The humility that the Gospel urges upon us has nothing to do with a self-deprecation that leaves a person without proper self-esteem. We must simply admit the truth about ourselves: we do not know everything, we do not do everything correctly, and we are all imperfect sinners. Nevertheless, we also recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that we are called to help build the kingdom of God with our God-given gifts. We are not of value because of those gifts but because we are loved by God as His children, redeemed by the precious blood of His son Jesus. The quality of humility that Jesus is talking about has a sociological dimension too. For Jesus is inviting us to associate with the so-called “lower classes” of society — even the outcasts. Jesus invites us to change our social patterns in such a way that we connect with the homeless, the handicapped, the elderly, and the impoverished — the “street people” of the world – with agápe love.
2) We need to remember that we are the invited guests: We celebrate that coming Banquet Feast in Heaven every time we come together for Our Lord’s Supper in Holy Mass. We are the (spiritually) poor, crippled, lame, and blind that Christ calls to himself. We are poor in need of the Lord’s true riches, crippled in need of the Lord’s help to straighten ourselves out, lame in need of the Lord’s grace to walk by Faith, and blind in need of the light of Faith to see things clearly. Our place is assured. Let us accept Jesus’ invitation by actively participating in this Eucharistic celebration. Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and writer, on receiving Holy Communion, writes that, as he received the Sacrament for the first time, as an adult, he thought to himself: Heaven was entirely mine … Christ, hidden in the small host, was giving himself for me and to me, and with himself the entire Godhead and Trinity … Christ was born in me, his new Bethlehem, and sacrificed in me, his new Calvary, and risen in me … (God) called out to me from His own immense depths [The Seven Storey Mountain, (New York: Doubleday Image Books), pp. 273-274).] Thomas Merton sensed the wonder of God’s invitation to Communion and received it joyfully. So, should we.
3) We need to become the guests of God and the hosts of everyone else: As God’s guests in this world, we should act humbly and remember that we are always in the presence of Someone greater than we are. As hosts of God’s people, we should offer hospitality to those who cannot reward us. Surely, we do not have to leave out our friends and families. But neither should we leave out the poor and disabled. We are asked to look upon ourselves as having received everything we are and have, from its true source, God, and to acknowledge Him as the giver of all blessings. We should choose the lowest place and never think of ourselves as better than anyone else, for all we are is due to God’s grace. This is the way to form our hearts in humble gratitude and to live with that peace of heart that only true Christian humility can bring us.
JOKES OF THE WEEK: 1) Christian Archibald Herter (March 28, 1895 – December 30, 1966) was a United States politician and statesman, governor of Massachusetts, and Secretary of State 1959–1961. When Christian Herter was governor of Massachusetts, he was running hard for a second term in office. One day, after a busy morning chasing votes (without lunch), he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon and Herter was famished. As Herter moved down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line. “‘Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?” “‘Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person because you are going to get other food items also from other servers.” “‘But I’m starved, and I love chicken,” the governor said. “‘Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only one to a customer.“ Governor Herter was a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. “‘Do you know who I am?” he said. “I am the governor of this state!” “‘Do you know who I am?” the woman retorted. “I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”
2) Winston Churchill was once asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?” “It’s quite flattering,” replied Sir Winston. “But whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if instead of making a political speech I were being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”
3) George Washington Carver, the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from peanuts, once told this story about himself. “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is reserved for Me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And He told me.” L/22
Websites of the week:
1) Fr. Don’ collection of video homilies & blogs: https://sundayprep.org (Copy it on the Address bar and press the Enter button)
2) Video Sunday-Scripture study by Fr. Geoffrey Plant:
3) Dr. Brant Pitre’s commentary on Cycle C Sunday Scripture for Bible Class: https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-Biblical basis of Catholic doctrines: http://scripturecatholic.com/
4) Cartoons for printed homilies: https://www.the-cartoonist.com/gospel/
5) Website on Catholic Liturgy: http://www.catholicliturgy.com/
6)Catholic Calendar: http://www.easterbrooks.com/personal/calendar/index.php
7) Councils’ and Papal Documents: http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/docs.htm
8) Video: Gospel according to Luke: https://youtu.be/auL-ebjH-xo
For pictures on gospel theme: Type Lk 14:1, 7-14 in Google image “search” and press the Enter Button of your keyboard
34 Additional anecdotes
1) “It’s perfectly all right, Madam!” A truly humble man is hard to find, yet God delights to honor such selfless people. Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator, was an outstanding example of this truth. Shortly after he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady. The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. “It’s perfectly all right, Madam,” he replied. “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend.” She shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. — Not long afterward, she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute. (Our Daily Bread). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2) “Sir, I am a Corporal!” During the American Revolution, a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers who were busy pulling out a horse-drawn carriage stuck in deep mud. Their officer was shouting instructions to them while making no attempt to help. The stranger who witnessed the scene asked the officer why he wasn’t helping. With great dignity, the officer replied, “Sir, I am a Corporal!” The stranger dismounted from his horse and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers himself. When the job was completed, he turned to the corporal and said, “Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this, and don’t have enough men to do it, inform your commander-in-chief and I will come and help you again.” — Too late, the proud Corporal recognized General Washington. Today’s readings challenge us to be truly humble. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) The most beautiful people in the world: They are those who care for the least and the lowliest, as Jesus instructs his host in today’s Gospel. Was there ever anyone more beautiful than Mother Teresa? Mother Teresa’s death came at the same time as the death of one of the world’s most famous beautiful people, Princess Diana. Both are remembered for what they did for others. Although Princess Diana was a young woman of many frailties who made foolish choices in marital life, she was fondly remembered, for her many acts of compassion. She cared for children. She cared for people with AIDS. Several years ago, there were two images that leaped off of the front page of a Texas newspaper. One was the image of “Miss America.” There on the front page of his newspaper was a list of the “vital statistics” of the Miss America winner, presenting her as the standard for American women. In that same newspaper another woman was pictured in a small photo. Her face was very thin. Her skin was wrinkled with age, almost leathery. She had no makeup, no blush, no lipstick. But there was a faint smile and a glint in her eyes. She looked pale. The caption read: “Mother Teresa in serious condition.” We know Mother Teresa’s story. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, and she gave the two hundred-thousand-dollar prize to the poor of Calcutta. When a businessman bought her a new car, she sold it and gave the money to the underprivileged. She owned nothing. She owed nothing. But she remains the most loved person for millions who knew her. — Do you want to become such a person? Jesus’ answer in today’s Gospel is plain and simple. Look around for someone in need and make a sincere attempt to help. A person in need is not necessarily one who is poor, but one who may be may be a shut-in who is lonely, a teenager who is misunderstood, or an AIDS patient feeling rejected by family, neighbors, and by God, to name a few. (Mother Teresa at 100- Life and Works of a Modern Saint. The Time Magazine commemorative edition was available in August 2010 in all stores). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) Funeral of Charlemagne. Charlemagne was the greatest Christian ruler of the early Middle Ages. After his death a mighty funeral procession left his castle for the cathedral at Aix. When the royal casket arrived, with a lot of pomp and circumstance, it was met by the local bishop, who barred the cathedral door.
“Who comes?” the Bishop asked from inside the cathedral, as was the custom.
“Charlemagne, Lord and King of the Holy Roman Empire,” proclaimed the Emperor’s proud herald.
“Him I know not,” the Bishop replied. “Who comes?”
The herald, a bit shaken, replied, “Charles the Great, a good and honest man of the earth.”
“Him I know not,” the Bishop said again. “Who comes?”
The herald, now completely crushed, responded, “Charles, a lowly sinner, who begs the gift of Christ.”
To this, the Bishop, Christ’s representative, responded, “Enter! Receive Christ’s gift of life!” — Even Charlemagne in all his glory and good works could not assume a position of honor. In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites his host to receive applause and honor from God by inviting the poor and the needy to the banquet. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) Thou shall not park here: Maybe you’ve heard the humorous story about the pastor who was having difficulty with his assigned parking space on the Church parking lot. People parked in his spot whenever they pleased, even though there was a sign that clearly said, “This space reserved.” He thought the sign needed to be clearer, so he had a different sign made, which read, “Reserved for Pastor Only.” Still people ignored it and parked in his space whenever they felt like it. “Maybe the sign should be more forceful,” he thought. So, he devised a more intimidating one in the Ten Commandment style, which announced, “Thou shalt not park here.” That sign didn’t make any difference either. Finally, he hit upon the words that worked; in fact, nobody ever took his parking place again. The sign read, “The one who parks here preaches the sermon on humility this Sunday morning!”– You would probably feel uncomfortable about doing that because of a lack of experience and training. The Gospel reading here, as well as the other two readings selected for this Sunday, set before us a vision of a common ministry that all of us can be a part of. I would call it something like “a ministry of humble hospitality. [Richard W. Patt, All Stirred Up (CSS Publishing, Lima, Ohio, 1977, 0-7880-1040-9).] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) What kind of player are you looking for?” Coach Shug Jordan at Auburn University asked his former Linebacker Mike Kollin, who was then playing for the Miami Dolphins, if he would help his alma mater do some recruiting. Mike said, “Sure, coach. What kind of player are you looking for?” The coach said, “There’s a fellow, you knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up.” Mike said, “That’s the guy we want isn’t it, coach?” The coach answered, “No, Mike, we don’t want him. I want you to find the guy who’s knocking everybody down. That’s the guy we want.” — That’s the guy we want to be seen with, want to invite to our dinners and social gatherings, because, deeply, it is the kind of people we want to be. We don’t want to be seen with the guys who are always being knocked down–the poor, crippled, the lame, the blind. But these are the very people, as we shall soon see, that we are encouraged to associate with. Look with me as we examine Jesus’ story about a party as given in today’s Gospel. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) Humble Hardy & Dorothy Day: It is said of Thomas Hardy, the great 19th century poet and novelist, that even after his great talent was discovered and any newspaper would have paid enormously to publish him, he would still send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the newspaper publisher in the event that his poem or short story might be rejected. Leonard Bernstein, the famous musician, was once asked which instrument was the most difficult to play. He thought for a moment and then replied, “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.” A similar story that personifies humility is told of Dorothy Day, the foundress of the Catholic Worker who once was sitting having a conversation with a disheveled, homeless person who had come into the house for a meal. When she recognized a reporter who had entered into the house pacing back and forth waiting for the conversation to end, she looked directly at him and asked, “Are you waiting to speak to one of us?” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) Success and Mother Teresa: Mother Teresa was once asked, “How do you measure the success of your work?” She thought about the question and gave her interviewer a puzzled look, and said, “I don’t remember that the Lord ever spoke of success. He spoke only of faithfulness in love. This is the only success that really counts.” — I think Mother Teresa would point to this story in Luke’s Gospel today to justify that response. Jesus instructs us in today’s Gospel not to do things that bring us the honor of men. Instead, we are to do things for which God will honor us. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) The television program 20/20 shared the stories of people who have restructured their lives in order to be able to share what they have with others. One person had given away her $3 million inheritance saying she already had what she needed and other people don’t. She couldn’t live with having a second home when others don’t have their first. The interviewer was incredulous as she asked, “But you see pretty things. Don’t you wish you had some of them?” “Sure, I like them,” she replied, “but I don’t need them.” Another man donated 60% of his income to charity with the goal of contributing $1 million in his lifetime. He did this by living in a small apartment and driving a used car. (Rev. Barbara Royle, http://www.soth.net/sermons%202005/sermon%2012-4-2005.htm.) — Could you do that? Could I? Today’s Gospel challenges every Christian to do that. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) “Were you there?” Ethel Barrymore, the great stage and screen actress, was a stickler for good manners. She once invited a younger actress to a dinner party at her home. But the young lady never appeared. She didn’t even bother to offer an excuse or make an apology. She just didn’t show up. Several days later Ethel Barrymore and the young lady met by chance at a museum. Embarrassed, the younger actress began, “Miss Barrymore, I believe I was invited to your house last Thursday evening for dinner.” To which Ethel Barrymore responded coolly, “Yes, I believe I did invite you. Were you there?” [Clifton Fadiman, editor, The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (New York: Little, Brown and Company), p. 40).] –In today’s Gospel, Jesus briefs his host on good manners He expects. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) Captains’ pride leads to fatal collision: In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers, hurled into the icy waters below, died. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Either could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late. — Many of the ills that afflict our Catholic Church and our nation at large might be resolved with a big dose of humility for everyone involved. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) “I cannot remember the menu of a single meal.”: A colleague of mine recently received a letter from one of his parishioners. It read as follows: “My dear pastor, I notice that you seem to set a great deal of importance on your sermons and spend no small amount of time preparing them. I have been attending services for the past 30 years and, during that time, I have listened to no less than 3000 sermons. But I hate to inform you that I cannot remember a single one. I wonder if your time might be better spent on something else.” After waiting a couple of days to heal his pride and swallow his defensiveness, my friend wrote back, saying: “My dear parishioner, I have been married for 30 years. During that time, I have eaten 32,580 meals … mostly of my wife’s cooking. Alas, I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. Yet, judging by outward appearances, I have been nourished by every one of them. In fact, I have the distinct impression that without them, I would have starved to death years ago.” — Today’s Gospel describes a banquet which Jesus attended. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
13) Jesus handles a “put down” at a party hosted by a Pharisee: The English are the masters of the put-down. Many of the entries into that anthology of insults came from England, like the story of George Bernard Shaw, who was invited to a woman’s house for tea. She was one of those people who liked to “collect” celebrities so that she, herself, might be considered a celebrity. She sent Shaw her card, which read, “Lady So-and-So will be at home Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.” Shaw wrote a note on the card and sent it back, and said, “Mr. George Bernard Shaw likewise.” Sir Winston Churchill was equally adept at the put-down. There is a famous exchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. Lady Astor did not like Winston Churchill, so one day she said to him, “If I were your wife, I’d put poison in your tea.” Churchill said, “If I were your husband, I’d drink it.” And here’s the meeting of the Masters! Bernard Shaw sent two tickets to his latest play opening in London to Churchill with this note, “Here are two tickets for the opening night of my new play, one for you and one for a friend, if you have one.” Churchill sent them back with this note, “I cannot attend opening night. Send me two tickets for the next night, if there is one.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
14) Anton Chekhov on false humility: The great Russian author/playwright Anton Chekhov, in a letter addressed to a younger brother in 1879, gave the classic response to the phenomenon of false humility. He had received a letter in which the brother had signed himself as “your insignificant and obscure little brother.” — “Do you know,” Chekhov asked in reply, “before whom you should confess your insignificance?” He proceeded to answer his own question. “Before God, if you will, before intelligence, beauty, nature, but not before people. Among people, you have to show your worth. After all, you’re not a crook, are you? You are an honest fellow, are you not? Well then, respect the honest fellow in yourself and recognize that the honest fellow is never insignificant. Don’t confuse ‘coming to terms with yourself’ with ‘recognizing your insignificance.'” [Quoted in George F. Kennan, Around the Cragged Hill ([New York: W. W. Norton, 1993), 22.] (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
15) Measure of greatness: Greatness is not measured by how much we gain, but by how much we give. How many millionaires has America produced over the past two centuries? I don’t know the figure. Tens of thousands, I’m sure. Of those millionaires who are dead, how many can you name? Not very many. Most of them are gone. Forgotten. All their toys are back in the box. Somebody else lives in their magnificent homes. Everything they worked for has turned to dust – except for the few who learned the lesson that greatness is measured not by what you gain, but by what you give. Would Carnegie and Vanderbilt and Rockefeller be remembered if their names were not engraved on public buildings, libraries and universities? Would we have any idea who old Joe Kennedy, “with all his millions of dollars,” was, if his boys had not devoted themselves to public service? –And a century from now, whose names will live on after all the lifestyles of today’s rich and famous have faded into obscurity? Albert Schweitzer? Mother Teresa? Mahatma Gandhi? Martin Luther King, Jr.? The number will be few. Some great scientists, a few artists, a political leader here and there. In every case I can promise one thing. Each of them will be a person who gave more to the world than he or she received. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
16) “No, Sir, I was only a cobbler.”: William Carey, the great missionary of India, was a very humble man despite his great linguistic skills and botanical achievements. He had translated the Bible into several Indian languages. The intellectuals and men of high positions in Calcutta recognized him. On one occasion the Governor General of India invited him to a party. As they sat around the table, one of the invitees asked another whether this was the Carey who was once a shoemaker. — Carey overheard this comment and turned to the person and said, in all humility, “No, Sir, I was only a cobbler.” (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
17) Humility Speaks in Silence! For a lady traveler it was a pleasant journey by train from New York to Philadelphia as there was only one more passenger besides her. Her co-passenger was rather a heavy-set man. But her joy of comfort was disturbed when the man lit a cigar and started smoking. The lady deliberately coughed and showed an unpleasant face. Nothing worked. He continued to smoke. Then she blurted out, “You might be a foreigner. But don’t you know that there is a smoking car ahead. Smoking is prohibited here. The man quietly threw his cigar out of the window and maintained his equanimity. — When the conductor came to examine the tickets the lady passenger realized with horror that her co-passenger was the famous General Ulysses Grant. She had boarded his private car by mistake! As the lady made a hasty exit the General did not even look at her so as not to embarrass her. He turned his head and smiled only after the lady was out of sight. Great humility is displayed by strong people. (G. Francis Xavier in Inspiring Stories; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
18) Inflated Ego: Some time ago in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times carried an interesting story about Don Shula, the coach of the Miami Dolphins, vacationing with his family in a small town in northern Maine. One afternoon it was raining, and so Shula, his wife and his five children decided to attend a matinee movie in the town’s only theatre. When they arrived the house, lights were still on in the theatre, where there were only six other people present. When Shula and his family walked in, all six people stood up and applauded. He waved and smiled. As Shula sat down, he turned to his wife and said, “We’re thousands of miles from Miami and they are giving me a standing ovation. They must get the Dolphins on television all the way up here!” Then a man came to shake Don Shula’s hand. Shula beamed and said, “How did you recognize me?” –The man replied, “Mister, I don’t know who you are. All I know is just before you and your family walked in the theatre manager told us that unless four more people turned up, we wouldn’t have a movie today.” This story clarifies the teaching of today’s reading that our Christian commitment calls us to be humble people. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
19) Who is the greatest? Here is a beautiful legend about a king who decided to set aside a special day to honor his greatest subject. When the big day arrived, there was a large gathering in the palace courtyard. Four finalists were brought forward, and from these four, the king would select the winner. The first person presented was a wealthy philanthropist. The king was told that this man was highly deserving of the honor because of his humanitarian efforts. He had given much of his wealth to the poor. The second person was a celebrated physician. The king was told that this doctor was highly deserving of the honor because he had rendered faithful and dedicated service to the sick for many years. The third person was a distinguished judge. The king was told that the judge was worthy because he was noted for his wisdom, his fairness, and his brilliant decisions. The fourth person presented was an elderly woman. Everyone was quite surprised to see her there, because her manner was quite humble, as was her dress. She hardly looked as the greatest subject in the kingdom. What chance could she possibly have, when compared to the other three, who had accomplished so much? Even so, there was something about her the look of love in her face, the understanding in her eyes, her quiet confidence. The king was intrigued, to say the least, and somewhat puzzled by her presence. He asked who she was. The answer came: “You see the philanthropist, the doctor, and the judge? Well, she was their teacher!” — That woman had no wealth, no fortune, and no title, but she had unselfishly given her life to produce great people. There is nothing more powerful or more Christ-like than sacrificial love. The king could not see the value in the humble lady. He missed the significance of the teacher. Often, we miss the value of those around us. I think it would surprise us to know how often we miss the presence of Christ just as Cleopas and his brother missed the significance of the stranger on the road to Emmaus. It is likewise easy for us to miss the significance of the resurrection. On the road to Emmaus don’t miss…..(Anonymous; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
20) Truly Humble: An arrogant American musician once visited the house of the great composer Beethoven, sat down at the piano and proudly began to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. When he had finished, he asked the concierge, “I suppose many celebrities come here?” “Yes,” replied the man, “Paderewski was here last week.” The American continued, “And did he play the piano too?” “No,” said the old concierge, “He said he wasn’t worthy.” — Ignace Jan Paderewski was a brilliant Polish pianist, composer, orator, writer, social worker, and philosopher who eventually became Prime Minister of Poland in 1919. He was deeply humble and is a model of what Jesus asks of us all. (Francis Goncalves, Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
21) Self-Effacing Humility: One type of humility is self-effacement – the habit of doing good deeds, or indeed just daily work, secretly and anonymously, without expecting thanks. A good example of that is a teacher, who in preparation for Thanksgiving Day asked her class of first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from their poor neighborhood had. She imagined that most of them would draw pictures of turkeys or tables of food. But the teacher was taken aback with the picture little Douglas handed in -a childishly drawn hand. The teacher showed it to the class to decide whose hand it was. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one child. “A farmer,” said another, “because he grows the turkeys.” When the others were at work, the teacher bent over Douglas’ desk and asked whose hand it was. “It is your hand, teacher,” he mumbled. — It was only then that she recalled that frequently at recess she had taken Douglas, a scrubby forlorn child by the hand. She often did that with the children; it had obviously meant a lot to Douglas. For herself, she was grateful for the chance, in whatever small way, to give self-effacingly to others. (Harold Buetow in God Still Speaks: Listen! Quoted by Fr. Botelho.) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
22) Learning from the Great: Dr. Richard Evans was a psychologist at the University of Houston who had developed an interesting series of films. They consisted of interviews Evans did with some great leaders in the fields of psychology and psychiatry -– people like Carl Jung, Eric Fromm, Erik Erikson, Carl Rogers, B.F. Skinner, and Jean Piaget. — Surprisingly, the major thing Evans learned from these great figures was the need for humility. What these great thinkers professed to know and their assessment of it is rather humble. Some people tend to oversell what psychology and psychiatry can do to help people solve their problems. Not so with the really great personages in these fields. The really important people have a modest view of what they have contributed, much less what the field had contributed in general. Humility is the mark of all truly great men. A healthy sense of humor is closer to humility than self-depreciation. Pope St. John XXIII once remarked: “Anybody can become Pope; the proof of this is that I have become Pope.” (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho.) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
23) A young man in a Train: A young man entered the coach of a train in a small university town in France. The ink was scarcely dry on his newly acquired diploma. As the train sped off for Paris, he took his seat in the rear of the coach near an elderly gentleman who seemed to be dozing. As the train suddenly lurched, a string of rosary beads fell from his hand. The young man picked up the rosary and handed it to the elderly gentleman with the remark, “I presume you are praying, sir?” “You are right. I was praying.” “I am surprised,” said the young fellow, “that in this day and age there is someone who is still so benighted and superstitious. Our professors at the university do not believe in such things,” and he proceeded to “enlighten” his elderly fellow-passenger. The old man expressed surprise and amazement. “Yes,” continued the young man, “today enlightened people don’t believe in such nonsense.” “You don’t say!” replied the old man. “Yes, sir, and if you wish, I can send you some illuminating books.” “Very well,” said the old man, preparing to leave as the train came to a stop. “You may send them to this address.” — He handed the young man a card, which read: Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris. (Fr. Kayala). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
24) Inventor Samuel Morse: Wakefield tells the story of the famous inventor Samuel Morse who was once asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn’t know what to do. Morse responded, “More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding.” — Morse received many honors from his invention of the telegraph but felt undeserving: “I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me.” (Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing, 1988, pp. 33-34). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
25) Henry Augustus Rowland: professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, was once called as an expert witness at a trial. During cross-examination a lawyer demanded, “What are your qualifications as an expert witness in this case?” The normally modest and retiring professor replied quietly, “I am the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion.” — Later a friend well acquainted with Rowland’s disposition expressed surprise at the professor’s uncharacteristic answer. Rowland answered, “Well, what did you expect me to do? I was under oath.” (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
26) President Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln once got caught up in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the President was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied, “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” — As the two men talked, the President quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he withdrew it. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
27) Pope Francis: Just after his election to the Papacy, Pope Francis demonstrated and defined the practice of humility, not by his words but by his actions. After his election to the papacy, Francis turned down the Vatican limousine ride, instead taking the minibus back over to the hotel with his brother Cardinals. At the hotel, he gathered his luggage, thanked each member of the staff, and paid his own bill. He did not pass off these seemingly meaningless tasks to a papal aide. — It was not as if he had nothing to do. Francis, this humble servant of the Lord, remained Francis, humble servant of the Lord, even after being elected head of the Roman Catholic Church. His humility was not so much a series of individual actions or practices as it was a way of life for him, as a Jesuit priest, archbishop, cardinal, and pope. (Fr. Tony Kayala). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
28) “Peter, tell me what hurts me!” The Hasidic Rabbi, Levi Yitzhak of the Ukraine, said that he had discovered the true meaning of love and humility from a pair of drunken friends in a country tavern. While chatting with the owner of the tavern, the rabbi saw the men embracing and declaring their love for one another. Suddenly Ivan said to his companion, “Peter, tell me what hurts me!” Sobered by such a startling remark, Peter replied, “How do I know what hurts you?” Ivan’s answer was immediate, “If you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say you love me?” — Through their interchange, the two companions underscored the fact that the true humility which issues forth in love is not fostered by navel-gazing but by bending down to look up into the eyes of another. From that humble position, the hopes and needs, the hurts and fears of the other are readily perceived; from that position of humility, love can be offered, and service can be rendered, not with an air of condescension but with the warmth of compassion. (Sanchez Files). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
29) “The one who humbles himself will be exalted” Mike McGarvin, the founder of Poverello House in Fresno, was an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a substance abuser. Mike was converted in his early twenties when he met the tenderhearted and welcoming Franciscan priest, Fr. Simon Scanlon, in the Tenderloin district of urban San Francisco. The Tenderloin district was notorious for its poverty, prostitution, and violence. Fr. Simon, the pastor of St. Boniface Church, responded to the hopless situation by gathering some volunteers and opening the Poverello Coffeehouse, a safe haven and place of refuge where people on the streets could find acceptance, hot coffee, and a warm welcome. Fr. Simon asked Mike to volunteer at Poverello. — The burly ex-football player said “yes” and, in accepting to serve the poor and the homeless, was set on the road to recovery. In 2003 he wrote a very interesting book, Papa Mike, about his conversion and his service to the poor, the marginalized and the homeless. After reading the book, I concluded that Mike McGarvin is a living example of one who had humbly recognized his human frailty and weakness and turned to God for salvation. He is a realization of the words of Jesus: “The one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 14:11b). (Lectio Divina). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
30) “Stop! The cup is full!” An old story is told about someone who is searching for the meaning of life who wanders into the hut of a holy hermit in a forest. The hermit offers his guest tea and keeps pouring tea into the cup until it is overflowing. The guest watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “Stop! The cup is full. No more will go in.” And then the hermit replied, “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions, preconceptions, and ideas. How can I teach you unless you first empty your cup?” — That is a wonderful story about humility, which is esteemed by many religious traditions. Dante in The Divine Comedy thought of humility as the most important virtue. Humility is radical dependence upon and trust in God. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
31) “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” is a 1967 film, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, and Katharine Houghton. In this film, the daughter of a well-to-do white family, Joanna Drayton (played by Houghton), comes home from a vacation to announce her intentions of marrying a well-to-do black physician, John Prentice (played by Poitier). The plot thickens as Joanna Drayton brings John Prentice home to dinner to meet her parents who do not know John is black; John’s parents also come into town for the Draytons’ dinner in order to meet Joanna, who, they learn at the airport, is white. — This might not be such a big deal today, but in 1967 to present a positive representation of a controversial subject like interracial marriage in the United
States of America was bold. Bold because, historically, interracial marriage was illegal in most states and was still illegal in 17 states until June 12, 1967. This movie presents a cultural taboo of that time, and it does so around the dinner table — because who’s at the table says something about who’s in and who’s out. The table is not only where one may say grace; it is the space where one extends grace as Jesus instructs in today’s Gospel. (Rev. Luke A. Powery). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
32) “Put these out on the tables if you don’t mind.” A while back Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, was a guest in our church. Hundreds of men had turned out one evening to hear this humble man of God; but before the doors were opened, when the men were still lined up outside waiting to be seated, I went into the auditorium to greet Mr. Cathy. I introduced myself and identified myself as the Senior Minister of the church. “If there is anything I can do to help,” I said rhetorically, “just call on me.” — And he did! He handed me a big stack of those cards that entitle the bearer to a free Chick-fil-A sandwich and said, “Put these out on the tables if you don’t mind.” Good grief! I was the Senior Minister! But this man gave me a chance to view the banquet from a lesser seat, and I think he got it right. And yes, the Senior Minister put a few hundred cards on the tables. ( Rev. Dr. Sam Matthews). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
33) “You like me, you really like me!”: You may not remember this 1984 film, Places in the Heart. But you may remember a well-known incident associated with it. In 1985, Places in the Heart star Sally Field won her second Academy Award for her role in this film. In her now-famous acceptance speech for her Oscar, Field said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” This line, of course, has been slightly misquoted as it has become well known as “You like me, you really like me!” Places in the Heart is a wonderful film. Set in Texas during the 1930s, it is a film about survival in the face of very difficult circumstances. Sally Field plays a poor widow with small children. She takes in boarders to help her make ends meet on her dirt-poor farm. Her two borders are a blind man, played by John Malkovich, and an African American man, played by Danny Glover. Glover is also her farm hand and farm manager and faces overt racism from Field’s white racist neighbors. Places in the Heart is a story of triumph in the face of overwhelming odds. Sally Field well deserved the Oscar she won for her role in this film. — Places in the Heart is also one of the most theological Hollywood films ever made. It has the most amazing final scene, set in Church, during Holy Communion. As Communion is being distributed, the camera pans the congregation. There pictured all around Sally Field’s character are all the people who are and have been important in her life, those both living and dead. It is a portrait of the Heavenly Banquet, the Communion Saints, if ever there was one. I thought again of Places in the Heart when I read today’s gospel lesson from St. Luke, in which Jesus is describing God’s heavenly banquet, one which will include everyone, not just the wealthy and friends and relatives, but also the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. (Rev. Eric Shafer). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
34) Humble yourselves the more, the greater you are: In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us not to seize the place of honor at a banquet. That place may have been reserved for a VIP. If so, we will have to pay for our vanity by being sent to a lower table. — Is ambition always out of place? So long as the ambitious person is also highly qualified, little harm is done. Still, he who is promoted simply because of his merits will always win the greater admiration. General Omar Bradley was one of the outstanding American officers in World War II. For several years before his death, he had the rare distinction of being a permanent five-star general. But as he stated in a 1971 interview that appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, all his promotions had come unsought. Bradley was a West Point graduate, a military man by profession, but as he always insisted, not a militarist. (He was noted for his compassion.) Reflecting on his advances in rank, he said, “I never thought about promotions. I tried to do my job a little better than was expected of me, to study a little harder than was expected of me.” Thus, he rose not because of ambition, but because of demonstrated talent. George Washington, in his day, was also chosen as general and president because he was obviously the best man for both jobs. In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed (without comment) a congressional law designating Washington posthumously as a six-star general. The legislator who presented the bill had the good intention of wanting to keep the Father of His Country permanently first among American generals. But the law was a bit silly. Washington’s position was already secure. As one dissident congressman said, “This is like the pope making Christ a cardinal!” (Father Robert F. McNamara). (https://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/22
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle C (No. 49) by Fr. Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle C homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at email@example.com. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website: https://www.cbci.in. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604