22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sept. 1, 2013)

Washing of Feet

This week’s Readings

You have probably seen me write this before, but maybe not: I always joke that one of the songs I want played at my funeral is “How Great Thou Art.” The reference is, of course, to me, to my humility … I’m very proud of my humility! For what it’s worth, the other song I hope will be sung at my funeral is “The Servant Song.” For me, it expresses beautifully what the Christian life is all about.

But back to humility … I’m reflecting on that because it’s a theme in the First Reading and Gospel for this week.

It’s one of those virtues that is often misunderstood. Humility has absolutely nothing to do with denigrating oneself. It has nothing to do with brushing off compliments. It is not a lack of humility to talk about your skills and accomplishments, such as in a job interview. Humility does not mean always deferring to others or being submissive.

Real humility in the best sense of the word has two facets. One, it always, always, always involves gratitude. Second, it always involves service and sharing – always.

Humble people know that everything they are and everything they do is first and foremost a gift of God. Yes, you have skills and experiences that you gained through your own effort, but even there we are talking about a gift from God. Humble people are very happy to stay at home in their own shoes. They don’t have to be anything more or less than they are at any given moment, yet they also know that they are a work in progress. Humble people love being who they are because they know that are loved by God, and that God provides for their every need.

In terms of service, humble people give as a gift what they have received as a gift. They don’t care about advancing their own agenda. They don’t feel they have to retain power by keeping things from others. They are happy to affirm and support others because the other is not perceived as a threat. Their help is given generously and joyfully and its gratitude that is the fuel for this attitude.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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