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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Good Manners Bring about Honor: The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Good Manners Bring about Honor
The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
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September 1, 2019
Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29; Psalm 68; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24; Luke 14:7-14

These readings stress the virtues of having an attitude of humility, and we can all agree that it is a laudable counter-cultural aspiration, but I think a real issue here is how we handle the honor-shame situations we encounter in daily life. While Jesus describes a dinner party in which a guest is publicly embarrassed, he wants to make sure that we do not get an inflated view of our worth and live out of our perceived honor because it will come crashing down. We cannot make humility a goal; it has to be a result of our actions.

Rather than being concerned about our status and the avoidance of embarrassing situations, it is wise to consider how we treat others because we want to leave the person with a feeling of being honored, even if they act badly. In every situation, whether it is a positive interaction or a crisis, it is best if we end the conversation asking ourselves, “How can I honor you?” Something good happens to us when we honor someone and treat them with politeness.

We live in an honor-shame society. When I was pastor in Amman, Jordan, a friend told me a story about a car accident at an intersection. My friend was at a stop sign getting ready to enter the road when a car lunged forward erratically and hit his car. It was very easy to determine who hit whom, but when my friend got out of the car, he called the man a “hamar,” which means donkey, which is an insult. The police came, investigated, and fined my friend, who had to pay for repairs to the other man’s car. Why? His words shamed the other man, who had his honor taken away.

We do the same in our society that wants to sue the other person for the most minor slight. After all, we feel disrespected and we want the other person to pay the price. Friends, this is not the way forward. Many people are acting out of their need to be respected and valued, and if people are seeking it, they are not giving it. Most people live out of their unmet needs. Unless they reconcile their needs, they are going to act out of them and it will be messy. Everyone will be negatively affected by these unmet needs.

What are we to do? Practice good social behaviors. Slow down. If we want to be respected, we need to treat others with respect so they feel honored. Forget about judging whether they deserve it or not. This is not about them; it is about you. If you want to be seen, be heard, and be known, then you have to see, to hear, and to know the other person. Watch the person as you ask them this question in normal everyday situations: “How can I honor you?” A healthy person will be effusive about their affection back to you. Also, notice what happens to a person to whom you ask this question during a conflict. It diffuses the person’s anger and they respond with clarity about what they need. Once we know what they need, we are able to help them settle their anxieties and get them back on track. They then treat us better because we did not combat them, but we treated them politely.

Good manners will correct many of the day’s bumps and bruises. People become settled when you open the door for them, smile, say hello, and look them in the eye. We realize many will remain clueless and perhaps were not taught good manners, and we cannot assess the other’s response in a singular instance, but our habit of extending good manners will become noticed. Others will see we treat them and everyone we meet well, and they will return it in kind. We honor others when we practice good behavior, and in turn we receive their honor, and in the end, everyone wins.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (1 Thessalonians 4) We do not want you to be unaware, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Tuesday: (1 Thessalonians 5) Concerning times and seasons, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.

Wednesday: (Colossians 1) We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.

Thursday: (Colossians 1) From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

Friday (Colossians 1) Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers

Saturday (Colossians 1) You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds; God has now reconciled you in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him.

Monday: (Luke 4) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Tuesday: (Luke 4) Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?

Wednesday (Luke 4) At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, "You are the Son of God." But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

Thursday (Luke 5) He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.

Friday (Luke 5) The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink."

Saturday (Luke 6) While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

Saints of the Week

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.

September 7: Stephen Pongracz (priest), Melchior Grodziecki (priest), and Mark Krizevcanin (canon) of the Society of Jesus were matyred in 1619 when they would not deny their faith in Slovakia. They were chaplains to Hungarian Catholic troops, which raised the ire of Calvinists who opposed the Emperor. They were brutally murdered through a lengthy process that most Calvinists and Protestants opposed.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      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.
·      Sep 4, 1760. At Para, Brazil, 150 men of the Society were shipped as prisoners, reaching Lisbon on December 2. They were at once exiled to Italy and landed at Civita Vecchia on January 17, 1761.
·      Sep 5, 1758. The French Parliament issued a decree condemning Fr. Busembaum's Medulla Theologiae Moralis.
·      Sep 6, 1666. The Great Fire of London broke out on this date. There is not much the Jesuits have not been blamed for, and this was no exception. It was said to be the work of Papists and Jesuits. King Charles II banished all the fathers from England.
·      Sep 7, 1773. King Louis XV wrote to Clement XIV, expressing his heartfelt joy at the suppression of the Society.

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