2023 Holiday Humility
Jesus & “table fellowship”: today’s Gospel recounts Jesus dining at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. It’s truly a special day…a Special Guest…an invitation to dinner and fellowship — and a teachable moment! Jesus is aware of his host, his fellow guests, their manners at table…and makes this occasion a teachable moment with a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor…rather take the lowest place…one who humbles themselves will be exalted…” Jesus highlights “humility”. These Gospel verses then continue with Jesus encouraging his host to reach out and invite to dinner the poor and needy…the least, the last, the lost…humility leading to generosity.
Humility invites us to be aware of our gifts and our limitations. The word itself comes from the word “humus” or earth…the created matter that sustains life and growth. Humble people are not human “doormats”, but rather those who know and accept both their God-given gifts and their human limitations. Great examples of humility are Jesus and Mary, along with the many saintly people whose lives we just celebrated in the Feast of All Saints. Humility is a key virtue for all Christians!
The month of November helps us celebrate God’s Life shared with us and our world. The virtue of humility…that acknowledgement of our God-given giftedness…helps us celebrate the lives of the Saints — those officially recognized and those still “under construction”. Thanksgiving Day helps us celebrate the giftedness seen in our lives and our country. At the end of the month, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, thus concluding the gift of the liturgical year. November is a celebration of abundant blessings!
Jesus challenges us to go deeper in living the virtue of humility: to be women and men of grateful prayer, to serve our sisters and brothers by helping meet their basic needs. Jesus also invites us to respect our earth as God’s gift, to celebrate that we are all members of God’s family in our common home. As we gather with families and friends, as we celebrate the holidays, as we gather at the Table of the Lord and celebrate the Eucharist: may we humbly celebrate God’s Life and Love shared with us and our needy world.
To paraphrase part of Psalm 94: God is good…all the time!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. serves as the Province Vocation Director and also as Local Superior of the Passionist Community of Holy Name in Houston, Texas.