Gospel reflections – Sunday, August 29th (22nd Sunday in OT)

Humility.   The book of Sirach extols it.   In the gospel, Jesus gives some practical advice about one way to express humility (take the lowest place at the table so that you may be invited to a higher place).  

What exactly is humility?  There are two key components to the definition.  The humble person is the person who knows her/his self well.  The humble person is grateful for the gifts that God has bestowed  and works hard to make the most of these gifts.  (Self-deprecation has no place in real humility; this kind of superficial false humility can actually mask a rather large Ego.)  Yet the humble person is also quite aware of his/her shortcomings and limitations.  Nothing is hidden.   The humble person is a person of Integrity –  what the person perceives and believes on the inside is what he/ she expresses and lives out on the outside.

All of this is admirable, but not necessarily much fun, unless you also include a second component.  The humble person likes him/herself.  Better than that, even – the humble person LOVES him/herself.  It’s a love that’s not based fundamentally on the sum total of qualities and shortcomings, but on a Truth that emerges from the background the more honestly we look at ourselves.   Every person is a “holy mess”.   Every person has been loved into life. Every person is beloved of God.  Why else would Jesus exhort us to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself?” It’s the perfect balance that Jesus’ modeled for us through his life, death and resurrection.

 Who is the most humble person that you know?  Why did you select this person?

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

P.S. To find my book length reflections and writings on the Bible, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com

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