New book from Fr. Rudy.
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22nd Sunday of
September 2, 2007 Year: C
Sir. 3:17-20, 28-9; Heb. 12:18-9, 22-24a Lk 14:1, 7-14
The meaning of true humility
"My child, perform your tasks with humility, then you
will be loved by those whom God accepts. The greater you
are, the more you must humble yourself, so you will find
favour in the sight of the Lord. Many are lofty and
renowned, but to the humble the Lord reveals his
secrets. For great is the might of the Lord: but by the
humble he is glorified.
When calamity befalls the
proud, there is no healing, for an evil plant has taken
root in them.
The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs, and an
attentive ear is the desire of the wise." [Sir. 3:17-20,
"You have not come to something that can be touched, a
blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest,
and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made
the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them.
But you have come to Mount
Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal
gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are
enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to
the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus,
the mediator of a new covenant." [Heb. 12:18-9, 22-24]
"On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a
leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath,
the lawyers and Pharisees were watching him closely.
When Jesus noticed how the guests chose the place of
honour, he told them a parable.
When you are invited by
someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the
place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than
you has been invited by your host; and the host who
invites both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this
person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start
to take the lowest place.
But when you are invited, go
and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host
comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then
you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at
the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be
humbled, and those who humble themselves will be
Jesus said also to the
Pharisee who had invited him, 'When you give a luncheon
or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers
or sisters or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case
they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the
crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be
blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be
repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." [Lk. 14:1,
Once when I was travelling by bus, I happened to open a
conversation with one of the travelers sitting with me.
He began saying that he has very successful in business.
He owned three shops, then a car; he had many servants
under him. He would go shopping on Sundays and enjoy his
life with his friends. Then, at one point I asked him
about his children. He said that he loved his children,
but did not get much time to be with them. Further a
light enquiry about his life partner. “Horrible”, he
said; “please do not ask about her. She is the worst
woman in my life.” He told me that he had many other
women who would satisfy him. I asked him, if he felt
guilty about all these things. Then he said to me that
he has been suffering loneliness, dejection, he has been
sad and had attempted suicide twice. Then I came to know
the pain of this person. On my part I tried to convince
him of the importance of family than money. He agreed
with me and wanted a solution. Then I suggested him that
he should go out with his family some times for a
picnic, then show concern towards his wife, appreciate
her, do some of her work at home and then try to build
up intense relationship with her. He felt relieved. He
had given me his email ID. I was in touch with him.
After nearly two months, he wrote me with a joyful note
that he and his wife have been enjoying each other’s
company. He had left all his bad habits and was giving
more time to his family. I was happy to see this family
Humility or humbleness is a quality of being courteously
respectful of others. It is the opposite of
aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity.
Rather than, "Me first," humility allows us to say, "No,
you first, my friend." Humility is the quality that lets
us go more than halfway to meet the needs and demands of
Friendships and marriages are dissolved over angry
words. Resentments divide families and co-workers.
Prejudice separates race from race and religion from
religion. Reputations are destroyed by malicious gossip.
Greed puts enmity between rich and poor. Wars are fought
over arrogant assertions.
Humility as a virtue is a major theme of both the Old
and New Testaments. Why do qualities such as courtesy,
patience and deference have such a prominent place in
the Bible? It is because a demeanor of humility is
exactly what is needed to live in peace and harmony with
all persons. Humility dissipates anger and heals old
wounds. Humility allows us to see the dignity and worth
of all God's people. Humility distinguishes the wise
leader from the arrogant power-seeker.
Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own
self worth. Rather, it affirms the inherent worth of all
persons. Some would consider humility to be a
psychological malady that interferes with "success."
However, wealth, power or status gained at the expense
of others brings only anxiety - never peace and love.
We should maintain an attitude of deference toward both
God and other persons. Wisdom cannot be found or
practiced through arrogance or anger. As servants of
God, we must respect all of God's creation, including
our fellow human beings.
boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may
bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own
mouth; someone else, and not your own lips
pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is
wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them,
but the falseness of the treacherous will destroy them
Humility means putting God and other persons ahead of
our own selfish interests. Humility comes with the
knowledge that God's creation as a whole transcends our
own narrow interests. As with other aspects of wisdom,
humility will gain us much more than we sacrifice.
and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.
the greatest among you shall be your servant. "And
whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever
humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matthew
[Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before
them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are
converted and become like children, you shall not enter
the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as
this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The First Reading of today reminds us of the need to be
"My child, perform your tasks with humility, then you
will be loved by those whom God accepts”. Humility leads
us to wisdom and understanding of others.
Doing our duty with humility is respecting the work and
those who are involved with you in doing that particular
‘humility’ is derived from the Latin ‘humus’
which signifies ‘ground’, ‘soil’. Its significance in
the spiritual life is ‘to be lowly’, or ‘being true to
self’. In classical Latin the word expresses
‘unimportance’, ‘insignificance’, ‘of lowly birth’,
‘weakness of character’, ‘lack of resources’. Hence,
humility was always in reference to slaves, servants and
people of low status and character in association with
condescension and contempt.
In the OT ‘humble’ is associated or linked with the poor
of Yahweh (anawim).
These have no resources of their own and submit
themselves wholly to the will of God who hears the cry
of the poor and the needy. The essence of humility
therefore consists in a sense of total dependence on God
in gratitude for His goodness.
The NT recommends the need
to be humble like little children to gain entry into
God’s kingdom (Mk 10:15). The kingdom belongs to the
poor in spirit who show forth childlike humility (Mt
5:3). This is all inclusive of the spirit of Christ who
invites his disciples to learn from him because He is
meek and humble of heart (Mt 11:29). He humbled himself,
being obedient to death, even death on a cross (Phil
In Christ’s teaching, humility is closely associated
with love and service. The humility of Jesus is the
model for progress in prayer life. “If I therefore, the
master and teacher have washed your feet, you ought to
wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to
follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also
do” (Jn 13:14-15).
Gregory the great describes humility as “the mistress
and mother of all virtues” (Moralia
xxiii,13,24). Keeping this affirmation in mind we can
link the importance of humility to love of neighbour and
detachment which are of no importance if humility is
The Gospel passage clearly spells out the need for
humility in everything we do, eat or drink including our
social life. In all areas of our life we need to be
humble. Jesus observes the people who were called for a
celebration. They were keen on occupying the first
seats, meaning to say that they wanted to be first in
the company of others.
What about giving? That too requires humility
HERE is a searching passage, because it demands that we
should examine the motives behind all our generosity.
(i) A man may give from a sense of duty
He dropped a penny in the plate and meekly raised his
eyes; glad the week's rent was duly paid for mansions in
the skies. We may give to God and to man much in the
same way as we pay our income tax-as the satisfaction of
a grim duty which we cannot escape.
(ii) A man may give purely
from motives of self-interest
Consciously or unconsciously he may regard his giving as
an investment. He may regard each gift as an entry on
the credit side of his account in the ledger of God.
Such giving, so far from being generosity, is
(iii) A man may give in
order to feel superior
Such giving can be a cruel thing. It can hurt the
recipient much more than a blunt refusal. When a man
gives like that he stands on his little eminence and
looks down. He may even with the gift throw in a short
and smug lecture. It would be better not to give at all
than to give merely to gratify one's own vanity and
one's own desire for power. The Rabbis had a saying that
the best kind of giving was when the giver did not know
to whom he was giving, and when the receiver did not
know from whom he was receiving.
man may give because he cannot help it
That is the only real way to give.
of the kingdom is this-that if a man gives to gain
reward he will receive no reward; but if a man gives
with no thought of reward his reward is certain.
The only real giving is, the uncontrollable outflow of
love. Dr Johnson once cynically described gratitude as
"a lively sense of favours to come." The same definition
could equally apply to certain forms of giving. God gave
because he so loved the world-and so must we.
One Rupee Coin and Hundred
Once, a conversation began between one rupee coin
and Hundred Rupee note, in a treasury. The Hundred Rupee
note boasted saying that it visited many places like
hotels, bars, movie theatres, parks, recreational
environments and touched the hands of important people,
and was also a guest at many celebrations being a member
of the garlands around important personalities. The one
rupee coin was silently listening and was sobbing. The
Hundred rupee notes asked “why are you sobbing? Are you
sorry that I have all these experiences? You too must be
having much better experiences”. The coin replied,
“Well, I am really unfortunate, and normally I end up in
the dark collection boxes of Churches”.
New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a
serious exegetical study on the important words and
texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The
study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic
and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to
EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph
Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East,
Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can
be ordered through email:
The cost of the book is Rs.
125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE
DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on
St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza,
OCD, MA. PhD.
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