Father Hanly’s beautiful homily for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, is about humility.
Readings for Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
- First Reading: Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
- Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24
- Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14
The Readings in today’s Mass can be summed up in one word: humility. Humility.
In the 1st Reading we hear the sage speak:
My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts
… and you will find favor with God.
Humility is best defined as truth. He who is humble always speaks the truth.
And as the Hebrew Talmud states: God loves humility, but hates pride.
Why? It’s because pride is nothing but a lie.
So, as the saying goes, from the lips of St. Paul: “Speak always the truth, and speak the truth in love.”
If you can’t love them, then the next best thing is to pray for them. If you can’t pray for them, just leave them alone — God will take care of them.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all have our moments of pride and arrogance.
Yet we can be quite lovable when what we have to say is not taken seriously. Like children in the comic strips.
Talking about a comic strip still quite popular in the daily newspapers … Calvin and Hobbes, the naughty little boy and his inseparable tiger companion, the loveable Hobbes.
As the story goes, when Calvin is told to take the watering can to water the flowers in the back garden, Calvin pouts, gets angry and threatens not to water the flowers.
“Now your destiny is in my hands, my hands!” he yells.
But suddenly the last of the water dribbles out and Calvin is left with an empty can, frustrated and embarrassed.
As for Hobbes, he looks up to heaven and smiles, no doubt thanking God.
Sometimes our arrogant pride gets the better of us, and it comes out masked in a false humility, pretending to be long suffering and humble hearted.
At such times most of us learn a very important lesson: “You’ll know that you’ve finally grown up when you can begin to laugh at yourself.”
The world is a gift, God’s gift to us all.
We are to honour it, guard it, cultivate it and love it with all our hearts.
It is to be shared and handled carefully like a precious gift.
And so, with a grateful heart we give thanks to God.
That is what Jesus is telling the wedding guests in this morning’s Gospel.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet …
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.
But Jesus is not finished his little homily to the wedding guests, and you can see the smile on his face as he takes his host to one more level of what it means to love and to care for others in the context of a wedding banquet.
Jesus says to the host:
you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”