First Reading: Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17
Naomi had a prominent kinsman named Boaz, of the clan of her husband Elimelech. Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go and glean ears of grain in the field of anyone who will allow me that favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go, my daughter,” and she went. The field she entered to glean after the harvesters happened to be the section belonging to Boaz of the clan of Elimelech. Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter! Do not go to glean in anyone else’s field; you are not to leave here. Stay here with my women servants. Watch to see which field is to be harvested, and follow them; I have commanded the young men to do you no harm. When you are thirsty, you may go and drink from the vessels the young men have filled.” Casting herself prostrate upon the ground, Ruth said to him, “Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?” Boaz answered her: “I have had a complete account of what you have done for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death; you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know previously.” Boaz took Ruth. When they came together as man and wife, the LORD enabled her to conceive and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not failed to provide you today with an heir! May he become famous in Israel! He will be your comfort and the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!” Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became his nurse. And the neighbor women gave him his name, at the news that a grandson had been born to Naomi. They called him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 128:1B-2, 3, 4, 5
See how the Lord blesses those who fear him. Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. You wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table. Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
I did this stupid thing once and prayed for humility. Yeah, that was a bad good idea. When you pray for humility you cannot be angry, caught off-guard or upset that you are a victim when the unexpected happens, because you asked for it, for goodness’ sakes, and gosh darn it, God sure delivers on that prayer petition. It only takes once to ask for humility and you will never do it again. Perhaps this is because God does a great job at answering your prayer, you learn your lesson quickly (perhaps!!).
Humility is hard for everyone, but I feel especially for outgoing, extroverted, leadership-oriented people like me. I like the attention. I love the spotlight. I want to be the one person people turn to. I have a lot to lose from humility. I have accepted these things in my personality/genetic make-up because there are some great strengths to draw from in a personality like mine, but one of the biggest set backs and weaknesses . . . humility. God calls us out big time in today’s Gospel to be humble.
I fall way short of “whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” I think humility looks different for each person, because we all know we love to play the comparison game. That game is all for nothing because no person is truly like another. We can only ask God for humility and for Him to reveal to us what that looks like for us.
I love and take to heart this quote from C.S. Lewis who reminds us, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” That right there is beautiful. If I can only just shift my time, attention and focus off of myself, humility will naturally come. It’s not a bold display of “I am less” but a quiet display of “He is more.” I strive for that, pray for it, and walk out in faith, sometimes humiliated, but most of the time lifted up.
Join me ladies in praying this litany of humility today, link here.
Cassie Kent is a wife, mom to two kiddos, loves to get a little crafty and even throws a monthly party celebrating the beauty of creativity. You can find out more about her here.