Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28, 2016
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Psalm 68; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24; Luke 14:7-14
The sage writer of proverbs outlines the proper dispositions a person must have in the community to enjoy a satisfying life. Humility, says Ben Sirach, is the way to being loved abundantly and genuinely, and as we learn humility, we will be favored with God. The Psalmist equates humility with acting justly because the just will rejoice before God because they have found a way to live rightly with God’s desires for them. Jesus tells a parable about humility to show that we must not regard ourselves greater than we are. We must give proper regard to what others say about us so we can esteem ourselves authentically and know our inestimable self-worth.
Let us get ourselves set on a common definition of humility. A common usage is to see ourselves with a moderate estimate of our own importance. A religious view might state it negatively: that we should not see ourselves better than we really are or that we accept our defects. It can be seen as self-restraint against excessive vanity and stands in virtuous contrast to such conditions as narcissism, hubris, and excessive pride. Most of these definitions are negative in judgment, which is never a good way to begin. The original definition is to show that we are from the earth, humus, to indicate that we are grounded. This definition is not bad. So, let us see humility as a genuine, positive, healthy assessment of our self-worth where we respect our gifts, talents, formation, and abilities. When we act on these desires to actualize ourselves, we are in concert with God’s will for us. God’s will is that we develop the gifts God intended for us to share with others, which is the reason humility is crucial to our identity. Only then do we properly use the gifts God has planted within us. Somehow, somewhere, they are useful and enjoyable. Humility is, then, authentically knowing who we are and appropriately using our talents and abilities judiciously.
When we seek pastoral advice or participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we bring forward our stories of interpersonal conflicts because someone feels dishonored by something done to them. For instance, we feel overlooked or bypassed by someone for whom we were a great support. At a time when we should have been rewarded for our abiding presence, we are instead not even invited to a special event. It hurts to not be in our rightful place of honor after all we did for that person. Or, we encouraged family members to do well and assisted them morally and financially, and then we realize they have no intention of paying the money back, or worse yet, acknowledging our crucial support with a simple word of thanks. We have to many examples of being slighted in friendships and yet we continue to give out of our goodness. We are not looking for a place of honor, but we wonder how to act with humility when we are dishonored? This is difficult to accept.
Yes, of course, we strive to conduct our affairs with humility as Ben Sirach suggests, and we have to realize that the importance we place on a relationship might not be the same as someone else places upon it. This is a reason for always making free choices in relationships, meaning that we ought not to feel hooked or compelled in some way, even if it is a blood relationship. It is crucial that we know our limits and boundaries and we hold fast to what we can and cannot do and what we want and do not want to do. We have to integrate our needs and act accordingly regardless of the other person’s actions. Whenever you feel coerced in some way, you are not free. Do not let others put this type of pressure upon you, especially if you are a parent who naturally wants to give everything you can to a child in need. You know that you will never be selfish to them, but you respect what you can give and cannot give. We act in humility when we know our limits and needs, and we respect ourselves. Our readings suggest that our humility leads to our prudential self-care.
As we cultivate authentic humility, we will make more prudential choices out of love. We will also be put in greater touch with those who suffer because our humility makes us vulnerable to other’s needs. We come to know our powerlessness in the face of someone else’s suffering and we realize we cannot save that person. We can simply show up, suffer in vulnerable solidarity, and pray for a better day. We cannot worry about the honor or dishonor others want to bestow upon us. There comes a point when the opinions and esteem of others no longer carry much weight. We learn to choose for ourselves by ourselves. We can only worry about being faithful to our capacity to extend the most positive, healthy love we can, and we let God do the honoring. At whatever age you find yourself, get to know yourself better and act in accord with your limits to your freedom. You will be surprised at the number of people you meet who want to live as you do because they realize how close you are to God.
Scripture for Daily Mass
Monday: (1 Corinthians 2) I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling and my message came with a demonstration of spirit and power so your faith may rest on the power of God and not on human wisdom.
Tuesday: (1 Corinthians 2) The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. The one who is spiritual can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone.
Wednesday: (1 Corinthians 3) While there is jealousy among you, are you not of the flesh? You are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh.
Thursday: (1 Corinthians 1) If any of you consider yourselves wise, become a fool so as to become wise. The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.
Friday (1 Corinthians 4) Stewards must be trustworthy. Do not make judgments before the appointed time for the Lord will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness.
Saturday (1 Corinthians 4) Do not be inflated with pride. We have become spectacles to the world. We are fools on Christ’s account, but we are wise in Christ.
Monday: (Mark 6) Herod arrested and imprisoned John. After his niece’s dance, Herod ordered John to be executed because he honored the oath he swore to his niece.
Tuesday: (Luke 4) The people in the synagogue were astonished at the teaching of Jesus because he spoke with authority. A man with a demon shrieked, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?”
Wednesday (Luke 4) Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law and after dinner, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. After petitioning him to stay, Jesus said, “We must move on to other towns to preach the good news to them.”
Thursday (Luke 5) As Jesus called Peter away from his life as a fisherman, Peter exclaimed, “Get away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Peter and his companions made an astonishing catch of fish. His efforts would yield a more bountiful catch.
Friday (Luke 5) No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. No one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Saturday (Luke 6) On a Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were picking the heads of grain and eating them. When questioned about his practice, Jesus recalled David’s action and said the “Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Saints of the Week
August 28: Augustine, bishop and doctor (354-430), was the author of his Confessions, his spiritual autobiography, and The City of God, which described the life of faith in relation to the life of the temporal world. Many other writings, sermons, and treatises earned him the title Doctor of the church. In his formative years, he followed Mani, a Persian prophet who tried to explain the problem of evil in the world. His mother’s prayers and Ambrose’s preaching helped him convert to Christianity. Baptized in 387, Monica died a year later. He was ordained and five years later named bishop of Hippo and defended the church against three major heresies: Manichaeism, Donatism, and Pelagianism.
August 29: The Martyrdom of John the Baptist recalls the sad events of John's beheading by Herod the tetrarch when John called him out for his incestuous and adulterous marriage to Herodias, who was his niece and brother's wife. At a birthday party, Herodias' daughter Salome danced well earning the favor of Herod who told her he would give her almost anything she wanted.
September 3: Gregory the Great (540-604) was the chief magistrate in Rome and resigned to become a monk. He was the papal ambassador to Constantinople, abbot, and pope. His charity and fair justice won the hearts of many. He protected Jews and synthesized Christian wisdom. He described the duties of bishops and promoted beautiful liturgies that often incorporated chants the bear his name.
This Week in Jesuit History
· Aug. 28, 1628: The martyrdom in Lancashire, England, of St. Edmund Arrowsmith.
· Aug. 29, 1541: At Rome the death of Fr. John Codure, a Savoyard, one of the first 10 companions of St. Ignatius.
· Aug. 30, 1556: On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Iroquois mortally wounded Fr. Leonard Garreau, a young missionary.
· Aug. 31, 1581: In St. John's Chapel within the Tower of London, a religious discussion took place between St. Edmund Campion, suffering from recent torture, and some Protestant ministers.
· Sep 1, 1907. The Buffalo Mission was dissolved and its members were sent to the New York and Missouri Provinces and the California Mission.
· Sep 2, 1792. In Paris, ten ex-Jesuits were massacred for refusing to take the Constitutional oath. Also in Paris seven other fathers were put to death by the Republicans, among them Frs. Peter and Robert Guerin du Rocher.
· Sep 3, 1566. Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford and heard the 26-year-old Edmund Campion speak. He was to meet her again as a prisoner, brought to hear her offer of honors or death.