Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Pope Saint Pius X (1835-+1914)—Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia and Des Moines, Iowa
Book of Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11, 4:13-17, Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4, 5, & Matthew 23:1-12
In today's Gospel narrative, Jesus gives us the most straightforward religious message, yet the most profound. It is a great temptation for all of us, as we grow in our spiritual lives, to feel good about ourselves, claim it for ourselves, and look down on others who don't appear to have what we have. Jesus uses the words "exalt" and "humble" in their good and bad senses to help us reflect on some powerful wisdom.
Our lesson today is that lifting ourselves for honor, attention, and praise doesn't work. Whenever we set ourselves up as better than everybody else, we just set ourselves up for distrust, lack of respect, and often ridicule. Why do we try it so often, then? The concern of others that is being honored and looked up to is seductive. Yet, most of what we do, most of what's inside of us, ultimately becomes transparent, no matter how hard we try to keep it from view.
Friends, the secret to being "exalted" and happy is making ourselves "humble." The respect of others, the integrity that gains honor, comes from genuine simplicity. It comes to us from being transparent in who we are. Jesus knew that honest "comfort" with self opens the Way for powerful graces. Denial or blindness about our weakness or bad habits makes very little room for grace to enter. An honest self-assessment will always lead us to a more pure heart. After all, is self-assessment not the tool we use to examine our conscience before confessing our sins?
Question of the Day: Will you thank God for His many blessings and ask Him to keep you humble daily?
Prayer: "You have but one Father in heaven; you have but one master, the Christ."