Friday, August 21, 2009

Be Humbled

August 22, 2009

Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?" Ruth 2:10

The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12


"May I prove worthy of your kindness, my lord: you have comforted me, your servant, with your consoling words; would indeed that I were a servant of yours!"


Bless me Father for I have sinned. I watched the entire “Project Runway: All Star Challenge” on Lifetime with 2.9 million other viewers. While I usually reject other contrived reality shows (Big Brother, Survivor, etc.), watching the creativity of random designers thrown into a salad bowl of competition and having to produce high quality work under tight deadlines produces amazing work.

But ugh! The attitudes! These people do not act like they have read much of Matthew’s Gospel or the Psalms or the Hebrew Bible.

Happy are all who fear the LORD, who walk in the ways of God. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper. Psalm 128:1-2

The work of their hands is amazing. They take junk from an old restaurant and fashion it into an evening gown or dress. In the next breath – or sometimes the SAME breath -- they act like little children bickering and puffing up their peacock feathers. When they lose, they lose badly. Even the achievement of second place among 12 to 16 talented designers gets only a roll of the eyes instead of a celebration of the talent exhibited and the achievement attained.

WWJW? What Would Jesus Watch? If Jesus were around today, he would not be watching Project Runway. He has no patience for show-and-tell faith. He is looking for people who will live it out in an authentic, Christian experience. The psalm sums up today’s lesson: What your hands provide you will enjoy. This spells out the need to live out your faith daily. We will only be rewarded for our work. We will not get a trophy for just showing up. We also have to win the race.

Matthew comes at the lesson from the other direction, condemning those who make their religious life a life of performances and not sacrifices. Matthew should be a TV critic and take on some of these reality shows.

When Ruth is treated well, she wonders why people in a foreign land treat her with kindness and love? Ruth deserves the good life. She is being rewarded for her unselfish service to her mother-in-law. Usually service is its own reward. We read and thus learn that service to others offered freely in a spirit of generosity also allows us to glean the love of the Lord when he goes out for the harvest.


What role are you playing in the reality show hypothetically called “Project Life?”

Are you acting like Santino or Korto when they are voted off the runway? Or do you show your leadership and accept your role and continue serving without complaint and with the humility of Ruth?

As the church celebrates the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, contemplate on the fact that she was granted a position above all others because of her humble “yes” when asked to serve the Lord. Are you able to say “Yes?” Perform a service today without complaint and without expectation of reward.