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Choking Down Some Humble Pie

First Reading: Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

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.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

R. (cf. 11b) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
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.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24A

Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, 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.”

NAB

aug 28

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve been hesitant—afraid, really—to pray the Litany of Humility. Maybe you’ve seen it. There’s some scary language in that prayer, like this: “That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.”

Woah.

Between my own clunky awkwardness and my children’s lack of filters and my strong-willed spouse, I have ample opportunity to be humiliated on a regular basis. I’ve worked hard—fought tooth and nail, even—to accomplish a very few, small things. Why in the world would I want to cast recognition for these victories aside? Eating humble pie is not my idea of a good time.

It’s important to understand that humility and humiliation aren’t the same things. Humility is a desirable virtue that predisposes me to holiness. Praying for humility isn’t asking God to embarrass or dismiss me. Praying for humility is seeking to know the truth of who I am, the truth of Who God is, and the grace to accept these truths.

Specifically: I am not God. I need God. I need to be saved. Everything I have, and everything I am comes from God. He alone is the Source.

In my life, humility means admitting I’ve gotten in way over my head on a project and need to ask a colleague for help.

It means swallowing my pride and apologizing to my husband when I lose my cool over something silly.

It means dragging myself to Confession over and over and over again for the same sinful pattern.

For me, humility looks a whole lot like acknowledging my need for mercy—acknowledging my need for God and the Body of Christ.

Because, left to my own devices, I want to do it all myself without relying on others; I want to be right; I don’t want to admit when I’m wrong. I want to feel like I have it all together. Or at least, some of it!

But when I grow in humility, I can recognize the truth: that I am a uniquely loved and unrepeatable child of the Most High God with gifts and talents meant to glorify Him. He alone provides everything I need.

Consider your skills and talents, sister. Thank God for these gifts! Humbly submit your efforts to your Heavenly Father today, asking Him how you can use them to build up the Kingdom.   

photo credit

Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.

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