“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Gospel of Luke, chapter 14:11

Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that if we behave humbly we will be rewarded in the Lord’s kingdom. Thus He says that “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Humility, it has been said, is the truth. It is the truth concerning ourselves; about our strengths and weaknesses; about the downward pull of selfishness that lies buried within the best of us. It is the truth about our need for God to raise us up, to shield us from evil, and to lead us in the ways of Holiness.

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs,” says the Lord.

The people at the wedding party, described in chapter fourteen of St. Luke’s Gospel, were trampling humility underfoot as they jockeyed for the best seats in the house. No wonder Jesus was amused and upset by their antics which were a far cry from the words of Sirach in the old testament, “my son, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.” ( Sirach 3:17). No wonder also, that Jesus realized that the only wise thing to do was to put these people in their place. To know one’s place, and to act accordingly, are attributes of a humble person. The people in today’s Gospel – the Pharisees, thought they knew the law and the place of everyone within it. Yet, they were breaking the spirit of the law by scrambling over one another, looking for recognition, without knowing their proper place. If they knew their place, they would take the “lowest place” and wait until the host decided if they should “move up to a higher position.”

There is a children’s song which goes like this:
“All God’s critters got a place in the choir.
Some sing low; some sing higher.”

Everyone has a place in God’s choir. It may be low or it may be higher. Find your place in God’s choir and behave with
humility.

Today’s message on humility helps us to know our place and conduct ourselves properly in the eyes of God. We must act with humility, no matter what we do. Only then will we be able to use responsibly the gifts we have been given to share.

Fr. Hugh Duffy

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