HUMILITY WILL NEVER BE EMBARRASSED
Paul’s imprisonment and difficulties matter very little, provided Christ be proclaimed. Christ is Paul’s life in his sufferings and his joys, in life and in death.
Our Lord invites us to his table. He knows that we are people with faults, people who have hurt him and others, by the wrong we have done and the good we have failed to do. Knowing who we are, he still loves us and invites us as his friends to join him at his table. Let us humbly take part in his meal and ask the Lord to make us more open to the humble, to people who have erred, and to the poor.
Our Father, who lift up the lowly,
your Son Jesus came into our world
as the servant of all and he cherished the helpless.
With him, make us respect and appreciate
the weak, the defenseless and the humble,
and accept to be numbered among them.
Dispose us to help them and to seek their help,
for you have poured out your mercy on us too,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: Philippians 1:18B-26
Brothers and sisters: As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Indeed I shall continue to rejoice, for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me when I come to you again.
Responsorial Psalm PS 42:2, 3, 5CDEF
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God. R.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God? R.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God.
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival. R.
Alleluia Matthew 11:29AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 14:1, 7-11
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 honour at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honour. 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In his imprisonment Paul is faced with a real dilemma. What is to be preferred: life or death? For his part Paul would rather die and be with Christ. The affirmation is an important one because it recognizes a “being with Christ” after death and before the second coming. Yet as far as the earthly community is concerned, it is better that he lives and be of service to them. They will be able to boast in Christ Jesus all the more if he returns to them. He feels confident that he will live on for their benefit.
Today’s Gospel message is clear in Paul’s case. He does not seek to advance himself. He sees himself solely as the servant of Jesus Christ. His preference is to die and be with Christ. But, if on the other hand, if Christ calls him to further ministry, he is just as content. Why is it in life that we think that every decision must come from us? When an important decision to be made is placed before the Lord, circumstances point out the direction to be followed. We think we are masters of our own fate, but often the facts show otherwise.
As regards the Gospel of today, let us end with the Words of the Holy Father: “Jesus does not intend to give rules of social behaviour, but rather a lesson on the value of humility. History teaches that pride, careerism, vanity and ostentation are the causes of many evils. And Jesus helps us to understand the necessity of choosing the last place, that is, of seeking to be small and hidden: humility. When we place ourselves before God in this dimension of humility, God exalts us, He stoops down to us so as to lift us up to Himself…” (Angelus 28 August 2016)
– Lord, in our world the powerful are honoured and the humble are looked down upon. Remember the humble, we pray:
– Lord, in our homes many sick people, the old and the weak and the lonely are often neglected and abandoned. Remember all those who suffer, we pray:
– Lord, many children and old people have only the street to live and to sleep in. Remember all of them, Lord, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
you overlook the poverty of our hearts
and you have given us a place of honour
at the table of your Son.
May we learn from him
to be at the service of all,
that you may give us a place,
at the eternal festive meal
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
we stand here before you
as guests invited to his table
by your Son Jesus Christ.
We thank you that he has accepted us
without judging or condemning us,
though our faith is not clear-eyed
and we often limp while trying to follow him.
Dispose us too to accept as friends and guests
the poor and the weak,
just as you have accepted us
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
If we want the Lord Jesus to live among us, there is only one place that fits us, the last place, the place of people who know how to serve. There is no room for pretending what we are not. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!