samedi 31 août 2019
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Speaking about humility in the light of today’s readings may sound strange in our contemporary world for at least two reasons. First, we live in a society that celebrates titles, social prestige and power. Everybody wants to be at the first position and to feel important. Second, whenever we organize a party of any kind or a special diner, we invite “important” personalities, those who can leave behind a “fat envelope” or a gift when returning home. We make meticulous seating arrangement for the distinguished guesses, dignitaries, celebrities, etc. and we cautiously choose those to seat at the “high table”.
However, in the gospel, Jesus reverses this normal procedure and throws two challenges. First, when you are invited to a wedding banquet or to a party, take the lowest seats, he told those who were choosing the places of honour at a dining table. Second, when you organize a party, invite those who can do absolutely nothing to pay you back or to get you a social or professional promotion: the marginalized, the outcasts, and the untouched of our communities.
Jesus' party etiquettes and protocols characterized by humility may be socially difficult to observe in our days. But that is the demand in the kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, as the second reading teaches. He humbled himself taking the form of a servant so as to gather us all before God and make us co-citizens with the angels and saints in the heavenly Jerusalem. In this city of God, we are all firstborns, therefore equal in the eyes of the Living God.
The first reading invites us to be humble and modest in all our conducts. The author warns us against pride and self-glorification. In other words, if we are humble, we will find favour with God; people will love us too. Thus, the more we humble ourselves, the greater we become. In all, let us remember that there is nothing we have and are that is not from God. St Paul asked: “Who confers distinction upon you? What do you have that you have not received? And if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it? (1Cor 4:7) Thus, humble yourself, and God will lift you up. Remain blessed!
Rev. Fr. Géorges KOUWONOU
(Priest of the diocese of Atakpamé, Togo)