Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

 Gospel Reading 

> Homily by Deacon Terry Ellerman

> September 1, 2013 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

> 10 AM Service

> Gospel:   Luke 14:1, 7-14 

> On a sabbath Jesus went to dine

> at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,

> and the people there were observing him carefully.

> He told a parable to those who had been invited,

> noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the
> table.

> “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,

> do not recline at table in the place of honor.

> A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by
> him,

> and the host who invited both of you may approach you and
> say,

> 'Give your place to this man,'

> and then you would proceed with embarrassment

> to take the lowest place.

> Rather, when you are invited,

> go and take the lowest place

> so that when the host comes to you he may say,

> 'My friend, move up to a higher position.'

> Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the
> table.

> For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,

> but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

> Then he said to the host who invited him,

> “When you hold a lunch or a dinner,

> do not invite your friends or your brothers

> or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,

> in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.

> Rather, 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.”

> Homily:

> “For every one who exalts himself
> will be humbled,

> but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

> Our first reading of the Gospel today talks to us about
> humility.   I think the question we are asked and
> confronted with this week is, “Are we humble?”

> If we were to ask our husband or wife or sons or daughters
> and say, “Be honest with me, am I humble?”   What
> would they say?   

> First of all, what is humility?   Humility isn't
> putting yourself down.   Humility   isn't
> enjoying your success.   But rather humility is when we
> understand that   we were created by God, and that God
> loves us and cares about us.   And he so loves us that
> each and every one of us has special gifts.

> It's up to us to cultivate these special gifts so we can
> make Christ present within our world, and to bring about the
> Kingdom of God here on earth.

> The opposite of humility is pride, and pride is one of the
> seven deadly sins that you remember from your
> Catechism.   A sin is deadly because is it a sin that
> leads to all other sins.   Pride is when we think we
> are better than other people, when we think that other
> people really don't matter.

> This morning I brought a balloon, and you'll have to use
> your imagination.   So this is all of our heads (Deacon
> Terry begins to blow up a balloon).   OK.   And I
> use this balloon because if we are humble we accept
> ourselves and we accept our talents and gifts, and while we
> enjoy the fact we have accomplished things - we know where
> the gifts have come from.   They've come from God.

> However, if we are arrogant and proud and we think we are
> the center of the universe;   when we think we
> don't need anyone else (blows on balloon and the balloon
> becomes larger);   and what happens is our head
> continues to get bigger and bigger and bigger.

> (Blows more on balloon)   Until what happens?   

> It is supposed to pop.   Or it would pop, or at least
> the air would be released.

> The point of this is that we all need to be humble.  
> And if we looked at ourselves and we looked at the continuum
> between being completely humble and completely prideful,
> most of us would be on the humble side.   But there are
> probably situations we can all think of in which we were all
> a little arrogant.   Maybe we thought, “Who cares
> what anyone else thinks because after all - I'm the one
> who knows the answer.”

> I am going to tell you a story to illustrate humility and
> pride-fullness.   In the seventeen hundreds there was a
> storm and there were two towns with a dirt road in between
> them.   This one night of this horrible storm all sorts
> of trees were falling down.   The next morning they had
> a problem.   How could they get from one town to the
> other?   So they asked some of the militia to come help
> them.   An officer came and he brought 10 other men to
> help.   And there he was on his horse telling them what
> to do, and they were down the road with this big, huge 
>  tree trying to move it.   And they were not having any
> luck.   

> All of a sudden this man comes by on a white horse.  
> And he comes up to the officer and asks, “What are you
> doing?”   

> The officer said, “Well, we are trying to move this big
> tree off the road.”   

> The man on the white horse said, “Why aren't you down
> there helping?”

> The officer answered, “I'm the officer.   I'm
> telling them what to do.   I can't go down
> there.   That's beneath me.”

> The man said, “Well, OK.”   And he got off his
> white horse, went down to where the tree was lying across
> the road, and helped them move it.   And sure enough,
> after a little while the tree was moved off the road.  
> The man got back on his white horse, went back up to the
> officer and said, “If you ever need any help, let me
> know.”

> The officer asked, “Who are you?” 

> He said, “I'm George Washington.”

> The point is, the more successful - whatever that means -
> the more successful we are the greater the temptation to be
> prideful, to be arrogant,   whether it means more
> money, more prestige, more whatever.   And the whole
> point of   the Gospel is   that any glory that we
> give, or get, is from God.   The talents you have - you
> didn't do anything to gain those talents, it's God
> giving them to you and me.   

> Now, did we do something to cultivate those talents along
> the line?   Yes.   Should we be proud when we
> reach some of those goals?   Yes.   But anytime we
> have to put other people down to help ourselves, we have a
> problem, and we make a mistake.

> The other thing is if you are arrogant and your head is so
> inflated and big, it is a lonely place to be.   How
> many of you know somebody who is arrogant?   How many
> of you want to spend your day with that person?   So
> it's a lonely place if you are arrogant and
> prideful.   But sometimes people do not understand it
> and realize it.

> If we look around our world there are a lot of humble
> people.   The first person who comes to mind is Mother
> Teresa.   Mother Teresa was a very humble person, a
> person who dedicated her life to serving the poor, the
> dying, the sick.   She never asked for any accolades,
> but yet did it because that was her gift.   When you
> use your gifts you are happy.   When you use your
> gifts, everybody else is happy too.

> So one of the things we need to ask ourselves today is - is
> there anything in our lives we need to do differently? 
>  To we need to be more welcoming, to be more humble?  
> Again humble doesn't mean putting yourself down, it is
> the opposite.   It is the appreciation of what God has
> given you, but remembering that God gave it to you, and not
> the other way around.

> This morning, as we approach the altar, we need to be
> thankful for everything that God has given us. We come here
> this day, as every weekend, to praise God.   We come
> here to listen to His word, we come here to the table to be
> nourished, to be fed, so that from week   to week we
> can have the nourishment we need to live out the life, a
> humble life, that we need to live - a life that Jesus showed
> us how to live.

> And the other reason we come is because of community as each
> and every one of you wants to help one another.

> I want to end with a quote from the book of Sirach, which
> you heard in the first reading.   What it is saying is
> that humility equals happiness.   

> “My child, conduct your affairs
> with humility,

> and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.

> Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,

> and you will find favor with God.”

> *****

> Terry Ellerman is a retired
> educator and serves as a deacon at Blessed Sacrament
> Catholic Church in Quincy, Illinois
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