22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 1, 2019

22C19.   Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29.  “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are; and you will find favor with God.” To be humble really only means that we live with our hearts and minds in planted in reality, in what genuinely is, as opposed to what we would like to fantasize. The word ‘humble’ comes from the Latin word ‘humus’ that means ground, earth, soil.  Therefore, to live and think humbly means to live with our two feet firmly planted on the ground, on what is real. This world, our dealings with human beings and our very own human nature that seeks pleasure and avoids pain can lead us to construct within our hearts and minds a very unreal world.  Being delusional and not genuinely realistic has always been more fun than any drug that has been and will ever be sold on the streets.  Avoiding reality and living in a fantasy that makes us feel good, pain free, is a choice that all too many make.  Demanding of ourselves that we respond to what really is, can be painful and upsetting.  However, in the end living the truth and not a lie will make us healthy, whole and holy. God is ready to help us do that.  As God, he alone can see the whole of reality, the fullness of the truth.  In seeking to avoid reality that we may find it painful to accept, we may naturally choose to delude ourselves by changing the world we choose to live in within our minds by constructing a pain-free fantasy filled world in our minds.  Pain is not enjoyable but life in this world demands that, with God’s help, we will not only live through the bad times but prosper because we endured, as Jesus did on the cross.

Luke 14:1, 7-14.   The social culture among those of high standing was to take pride in one’s elevated stature among the upper echelon and demand that their position was recognized by their peers.  Jesus was indirectly trying to get them to realize that what truly matters was what God thought of them and not their peers.  Those who live humbly before God will be exalted by the One whose opinion of us really counts for something.  The recognition they sought from their peers would disappear at one’s death but the rewards that God gives for one’s good works, especially for the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, will last forever.

Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a.   God does not come as “a blazing fire and a 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 but, rather humbly yet at the same time majestically, as a magnificent vision of “the heavenly Jerusalem and countless angels” with God the Father, Jesus and the saints.