[Cyber version 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Bible Readings: Sir. 3:17-18, 20,28-29; Ps. 68:4-5,6-7,10-11; Heb. 12:18-19,22-24a; and Lu. 14:1, 7-14]
Humility….Our society today does not approve or welcome this virtue…well maybe sometimes in others but not much in our self. Concepts such as humility, self-criticism, self-responsibility, self-denial or self-control are disdained in a culture that ruthlessly embraces SELF (and will shove others (including God) out of the way in that embrace). Entitlements of..Self-expression, self-assertion, self indulgence, self-improvement and the ever important..self esteem are the premier philosophies and religions of today.
To better realize the purpose, power and beauty of God’s Word for this late Summer weekend we should go for a walk in the garden. The Word of God today would focus our lives on the virtue of humility. Perhaps in the garden we can better allow the blessing of this grace to be vibrant in our lives. For it is one of the great paradoxes of God that in true humility we can discover our true self but, and also the most important…God.
As we walk through the garden this late summer weekend we will enjoy the late summer roses, the vibrant Zinnias, Cosmos, Sunflowers and Marigolds and the sturdy borders of Fibrous Begonias. We will also perhaps pick a ripe sweet peach or apple from the garden orchard. We will also be stopping to pick some beans, ripe red tomatoes and Zucchini. Looking over the garden fence we can see harvest beginning in the vineyards with the promise of the lush grapes being crushed into wines to bless body and soul.
But in our appreciation and enjoyment of the garden we cannot afford to ignore the soil. For therein lies our lesson of humility. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that humility comes from the Latin…humilatas, the root of which is the word..humus. It is the rich humus fed soil of our garden that God uses to bring to us the beauty and joy of the roses, Marigolds, Tomatoes and beans. It is the decay and dying of the old that the newness of life is to be found. It is in our dying to self, our humbly recognizing our faults and failures (we Christians call this repentance and contrition) that God can bring a rich life of the true self. It is in deep rooted humility that healthy, genuine self-esteem can grow and mature.
It might be helpful to also take a walk in the local discount store. It is within the Walls of the Mart we can see the lush plastic flowers alive under the glow of fluorescent buzz. We can smell the rich scent of artificial plastics nurturing the empty esteem of self-indulgence. It is in the lush pride of possessions we can build the empty clutter of discontent.
We now return to the garden. As we allow the Master Gardener to prune away the dead clutter of this world in our lives we find the source of abundance He has created us to share. In the garden we share with Him the humble prayer..”Thy will, not mine, be done”. From that place we discover the help of the angels to embrace the Cross and then know the Life of Him who has risen from the dead.