“For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and dedication to, the Lord.
Last week we spoke of the distinction between listening and hearing. We heard Jesus tell us that the one who listens and walks the gospel way, i.e., does the work Jesus speaks of, will recline at table in the kingdom of God. Today we hear Jesus referencing another table, the one that was in front of Him in the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
We are introduced to the scene hearing that Jesus was being observed closely and carefully.
The ironic part of Jesus being observed carefully was that it had nothing to do with respect or honor. Rather, it was people lying in wait for a mistake, so they could take charge and destroy Jesus.
Jesus confronts this situation by speaking of humility. How can one rightly order their lives in relation to God and other people?
We all have that automatic detection system, the red light that goes on when someone with false humility starts talking about – themselves. We know how hard our own humility can be. Even stating that one is humble calls attention to oneself, magnifies oneself.
The temptation as I prepared this homily was to use examples from my life – oh how humble I was – and speak about how we can all effectuate humility in our lives – by following the thing Fr. Jim does. Yikes, humility is hard. That was a lesson for me.
For us, humility is the way we follow Jesus, how we walk in His gospel way. Jesus lays out examples for us today.
It starts with showing up when invited, making the effort, then placing oneself in the lowest position, doing the things that need doing while not calling attention to oneself. Then when the party begins, taking the lowest place.
Jesus also instructs us to avoid doing anything for self-gain. If we are throwing the party, invite those who never get invited. If we are playing a sport or game, pick those who never get picked.
Those are practical examples of humility in action. Doing those things helps us to live humble lives, to exemplify Christ. The truly humble person is not only a listener and doer of Jesus’ gospel but more-so a person totally committed to emptying oneself for Jesus Christ.
What this means is to finally extricate ourselves from God’s throne, to stop pushing Him aside so we can decide. It is about living up to all those commitments we made before God at our baptism and confirmation, in marriage, and in every other way – living only for God and others so to be exalted in heaven at God’s table.