Monday, October 31, 2011

You Have But One

October 30, 2011

Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Have we not all the one father? Has not the one God created us? Why then do we break faith with one another, violating the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:10

"Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:10-12


Humility flows out of Piety. Piety is the willingness to be a Christ for all who come our way. Humility is our willingness to see Christ in each other. The wonder of the person that is able to treat everyone as better than themselves is the same wonder at Christ who washed the feet of his disciples. We do not need humility to treat those who have great responsibility as leaders in the name of Christ. When we make an honest effort to treat a nobody as greater than ourselves, we are truly humble. Common sense knows when we are doing something better than others do it. Our humility in treating all others as better than ourselves needs to flow out of the realization that if another had the gifts and the graces we have, they would do twice as much as ourselves. Conversely our humility allows us to think if we had the graces and talents they did, even if they appear inferior by education or talents, they would do twice as much as we would do. The spirit of humility gives Christ ascendancy in our hearts in the way we see others as better than ourselves. Humility as a virtue allows us to see the world through the eyes of Christ who was willing to give up the being God to live his life as a slave of all. Humility as a virtue reveals to our world the truth of how we see ourselves in relationship to Christ. Humility allows us to look at our world through the eyes of Christ from his cross.


We learn to preach Christ by studying how he lived out his destiny as the Word made flesh. God had a plan for Christ even as he has a plan for us. Our opportunities in life and even the good we do by our lives is part of the gift of life God has given us. Humility gives us the chance to discern what the plan God has for us. We are open to the truth of our lives in the realization that all is gift of God to us. The measure of how well we love reflects the presence of God in our lives. It is perhaps easier to love our family more than the strangers of our lives. We are called to appreciate that we love Christ by what we do for the least person in our lives. There is no shortcut on loving God that permits us to bypass the hurting of our world. What we do for the least person in our lives is the measure of what we do for Christ.


The Corporal Works of Mercy cover the grounds of what we are called to do for Christ in sharing our lives with others. We try to cover each of the works of Mercy that we might be sure that we will not be left out of the call of God to salvation. Christ identifies with the needs of any one of us. We need to need each other and humility makes that possible for us. Strong rugged individualism might have a place in our world. But community is made up by our oneness with others. Humility excludes no one from our lives. We better belong to Christ in the openness to all that humility makes possible. Our greatness in heaven will belong to our having humbled ourselves before our world. How we share our lives with the least person in our lives reveals how much we love Christ. When we give until it hurts we are the Christ of our day and age.