The Twenty-second Sunday of the Year

Ecclus 3:17-20 Heb 12:18-19, 22-24 Lk 14: 1-7 (year c)

‘Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” This saying of Jesus, coming as the conclusion of a parable that had criticised the presumption of those who took the best places for themselves at a wedding feast, pinpointed pride as the greatest stumbling block to salvation.

Sinful human nature is best illustrated by the fact that, almost from our first breath, we are subject to an inordinate desire to be the centre of attention. Anyone who has witnessed the wilful antics of a toddler can scarcely doubt this.

Wisdom, maturity and humility come from the realisation that, whilst we are born to love and be loved, we are not the centre of the universe, and to live in such a manner is selfish idolatry.

The repeated sayings of Jesus, that the last should be first, that we should seek to serve rather than be served, underlined the central truth of the Cross. We are only truly alive when, in Christ, we have died to every selfish inclination. Humility is not a false self-abasement. It is the surrender of ourselves to the Lord, so that, in his saving grace, we find our true value as the children of God.

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