Humility, Everything else is commentary

“‘You shall love your neighbor, that is, what you hate for yourself, you will not do to them.’”
“That is the whole Law. Everything else is commentary.”

Greetings on this the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11; Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a; Lk 14:1, 7-14
Notes: On Wednesday this week past, we discussed rejoicing in the Invitation.

Today we Rejoice in Humility, not Humiliation.

The people in today’s gospel portion were observing him carefully as already had stared earlier in the gospel of Luke.

After teaching them: After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal (LK 11:37-38).

After rebuking them in the seven “Woes”: When he left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say (LK 11:53-54).

They wanted to humiliate him, bring charges against him, catch him in a lie and to destroy him. Any and all of these.

On the one hand

Jesus was not humiliated or intimidated.
Jesus was humble, trusting in the Father.

Humility is a quality of a person. One, who on balance, accepts the gifts of the Lord with joy and the absence of other gifts with joy as well. Humility sees the Other as having equal dignity and importance interconnected to our own needs and wants. Humility does not exaggerate, usually at the expense of another, one’s own self-worth or standing in the community (today’s gospel story).

And also, humility avoids receiving the negative intention of others and the impulsive negative response coming from within (our impression) or without (their intended purpose).

On the other hand

Humiliation is either the reception of a negative intention or the imagined negative intention of our own design.

Synonyms for Humiliation: embarrassment · mortification · shame · indignity · ignominy · disgrace · dishonor · discomfiture · degradation · discredit · obloquy · opprobrium · loss of pride · loss of face · affront · insult · rebuff · snub · put-down · blow to one’s pride · slap in the face · smack in the face · kick in the teeth · disesteem · reprobation · vitiation

Why wasn’t Jesus humiliated?
Consider Sirach chapter 2, our first reading and our second reading.

Sirach 2:1-6 – Trusting God
My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.
Cling to him, do not leave him,
that you may prosper in your last days.
Accept whatever happens to you;
in periods of humiliation be patient.
For in fire gold is tested, and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust in God, and he will help you;
make your ways straight and hope in him.

Summary recap:

  • All we are and all we have are gifts from God.
  • Everything else is commentary.
  • Humility is knowing and feeling or experiencing God.
  • Humiliation is less than.
  • Remember: to enlarge the HEAD is to shrink the HEART by proportion.

First reading
My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.

Responsorial Psalm
God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Second reading
Comparing the coming of Jesus to the Moses encounter.
How far less intimidating and more inviting is Jesus?

Alleluia Verse
Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord,
and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.

Gospel Portion
Forgo advantage, alliance and acquisition. These are the things of humiliation (given or received).

When you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

This is the way of humility.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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