Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 1, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings share the common theme of humility, instructing us that the virtue is essential to our salvation.
Humility, of course, gets a bad rap in our dominating, “me” culture. We tend to think of humiliation, servitude, inelegance rather than the actual root of the word: humus -“of the earth”.
I was fascinated last week by a small fracas arising from the unconsidered remarks of one of our Phillies baseball players. The team has been running hot and cold – with a little bit too much cold for some fans. The famous Philly “boos” have been flying. Frustrated with these, outfielder Sean Rodriguez referred to the disgruntled fans as “entitled”.
Uh oh! They didn’t like that. We prefer to think of ourselves as “deserving “, right?
Humility is that virtue which helps us realize that we are not “entitled” or “deserving” of anything over and above other human beings. It roots us in the respect for each other that refuses to rank the worth of other human beings.
The social leverage that comes from wealth, power, and influence can beguile us. We become lost in a maze of stereotypes, rankings and prejudices which are the foundation of social injustice.
We hear among ourselves justifying phrases for our entitlement like:
- well, I earned what I have
- at least I paid for it
- “they” need to work if they want to have …(food, healthcare, housing…)
- it’s their own fault for … (dropping out of school, taking drugs, ….)
- that’s just the way it is in “those” countries. The people are …(lazy, stupid, violent …)
- “they” don’t need what I need. “They” are used to being … (poor, disabled, sick …)
And probably the most dangerous of all the phrases:
- it’s not my problem
- I’m not the one exiling, bombing, blocking, trafficking, enslaving “them”
Today’s readings enjoin us: it is my problem. My attitude, choices, vote, conversation, and lifestyle matter at the banquet of life we are all meant to share.
My intention to humbly join and rejoice with all Creation, to take a seat beside and never above my sister and brother – this is my “entitlement” to the one banquet that matters.
When you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
Music: A Place at the Table – Lori True and Shirley Elena Murray