From humility to exaltation Print E-mail
Written by Sharon K. Perkins   
Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Twenty-second Sunday
in Ordinary Time

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Psalm 68:4-7, 10-11
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14

The American storyteller Mark Twain is credited with the saying, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." Essentially, Twain is insisting that "words matter."

Sometimes examining the historical origins, or etymology, of a word can provide valuable insights into its meaning.

Take the word "humility," for example. If you trace its history far enough, you can find that it is based on the Latin word "humus," or "earth." To be humble is literally to be "down to earth."

Almost all of us can think of a person who, despite his celebrity or social stature, is admired because of his humility. To say of a famous personality, "She's so down to earth!" is to pay her a compliment implying genuineness, approachability and unpretentiousness that are powerfully attractive to others.

Jesus chose to emphasize the importance of humility in today's Gospel parable at the home of one of the leading Pharisees of the town -- where, oddly enough, the dinner guests were jockeying for positions of honor at the table. He highlights the paradox that such seeking of favor and prestige inevitably leads to disgrace and embarrassment, while choosing to humble oneself carries the potential for exaltation. (Although the words both spring from the same Latin root, I think I would choose "humility" over "humiliation" any day!)

Jesus' parable wasn't only instructional -- it was prescient. His own freely chosen death on the cross was the ultimate act of humility, leading not only to his own exaltation at the right hand of the Father, but to our own lifting up.

In great humility lies great power, for it dismantles the walls that keep our hearts closed to love. Humility changes moralizing to loving example and mere proselytizing to authentic evangelization.

Put another way, it's what "folk evangelist" Johnny Cash advises in song:

"Come heed me, my brothers, come heed, one and all/ Don't brag about standing or you'll surely fall./ You're shining your light and shine it you should/ But you're so heavenly minded, you're no earthly good."

This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Pope's Prayer Intentions: August 2016 Print E-mail
August Universal Intention

That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.

August Evangelization Intention

Living the Gospel
That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor

Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2016.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Friday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 5
Ascension Thursday
Monday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption (abrogated because it falls on Saturday)
Tuesday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Thursday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Sunday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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