HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: HUMILITY IDENTIFIES US WITH GOD
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 28 2022
(Sirach 3:17-20.28-29, Hebrews 12:18-19.22-24, Luke 14:1.7-14)
The Kingdom of God can be compared to a banquet prepared by the Lord to which everybody is invited. In today’s gospel, Jesus highlights a ‘code of conduct’ for those that are attending the banquet. For Jesus, what lies at the core of this code is the value of humility. He warns against taking the best place or the seat of honour. It may not have been meant for us. How nice a feeling it is to take the least seat, only to be told that a better seat was set for us. How embarrassing, however, it is to give oneself the best seat, only to be asked to take the back seat. It pays to be humble, wherever we are.
Humility identifies us with God who came down to take up the human form through the incarnation of Jesus, and to live like us but sin. Jesus bore our sin, dying on the cross like a criminal to liberate us from sin and resurrected to demonstrate his authority over death. Not only that, his whole life was a demonstration of divine humility when he mingled with sinners and the people that were ostracised by the community. In our life, whenever we exercise humility, we participate in divine humility. Thus, we become godly.
Humility means that we empty ourselves to find fulfilment in Christ. If we remain too full of ourselves to be filled up by Christ, then we have already rewarded ourselves. We don’t even have a place at the table of the banquet. We need to reduce ourselves to be increased by God. With this attitude, we will then learn to abandon our ego for the good of others. We shall never lose anything by giving way to others so that we follow behind. If we deserve a place of honour, others will give it to us without claiming it for ourselves. In our silence, other people will see that we indeed deserve a “better seat at the banquet.”
For those of us who have been hoisted to positions of honour in government, in various organisations, companies or within the Church, the significance of humility in our service cannot be overemphasised. It is indispensable. When we take the “least position” in our leadership, those we lead will give us the respect we deserve. When we are down to earth in our service, those who are under us will willingly submit to our guidance. Nobody wants to pay loyalty to a self-inflated and know-it-all leader. In today’s message, Jesus wants us to serve the least, the poor, and those rejected by society. But without humility, we shall always see the vulnerable as a problem to be avoided. To decide to be the least of all is also to decide to be the greatest of all because in humility you gain respect, honour, integrity and authority (not power). Sirach in the first reading says, “The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favour with God.” In our humility, the Lord is always glorified. As leaders in the Church and elsewhere, we must let God’s name be written on the billboards, not ours. When we realise that we are becoming more famous than God, it is a sign enough that we are going the wrong way.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula