Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 24, 2022

Sister Anne Madeline Brost, OSB shares a reflection on the scripture readings: Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13

In the first reading today, from Genesis 18, Abraham is asking God not to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Gospel, from Luke 11, the disciples are asking for what they need. They are aware of their own inadequacies in these two scripture stories of humility.

I just returned from the Monastic Institute at St. John’s University. The topic of the Institute was humility. These two scripture passages are a good lead for me to share my “take aways” from the Institute.

Asking for a skill or virtue we do not have shows a growth in awareness of our own state of being. We are needy. Realizing neediness may be a beginning of humility.

Humility is a state of being, not a virtue.  Humility is living in the Truth. Humility happens to us as we grow spiritually and growing spiritually includes becoming more aware of our strengths and weaknesses.

As my focus in life changes, little by little, from me trying to be a better person aiming at enhancing your image of me, to a focus on you, trying to show you your goodness and beauty, helping you be you—if I use my talents for you, I may become humbler. 

In the Scriptures today, we can see humble actions:

Abraham cannot change the people of the two cities; God must act. Abraham is caring about other persons.

And the disciples know their own need: to learn to pray. In the prayer Jesus teaches them, the “Our Father.” they learn to honor the Divine, and then to ask not only for themselves but for everyone, especially those to whom they are in debt.

St Bernard says, “Lack of humility makes a person ridiculous.” Who wants to be ridiculous? 

As we become more honest, more humble, we symbolically go back to Eden: Naked. We let go of our fig leaves. Our deepest self is uncovered.

What follows self-knowledge is compassion and contemplation. Humility is not a tool, not a good work, but the source and effect of living for others.

And of asking to see the Divine life in everyone. Remember the humility of Jesus. He says of himself “Take and Eat.” Jesus knew the Divine life in himself and offers it to the disciples and to us.

Let us try to be honest, as Jesus is, and say, “Take what good you find in me, and use me to show the Divine.”

Let us take what good we find in each other and use these gifts to create new life.


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