Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 126 (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading comes from the great wisdom book of Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus. The purpose of this passage is to emphasize how important humility is if we are to please God. By contrast, anyone who is proud and does not cultivate humility has an “evil growth” for which there is no cure. People with great gifts and talent are at risk to this temptation, which is why we are told that the greater you are, the more — not less — we should behave humbly. This type of humility was modeled for us by Christ Himself, and His mother Mary, and Saint Joseph.
The response for this Psalm is: “God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor..”
This week’s reading from the letter to the Hebrews contrasts the physical signs of the Old Testament manifestation of God to the New Testament manifestation of God. The Old Testament manifestation of God took place before Moses at Mount Sinai in the desert with the giving of the Law, whereas in the New Testament Christ has shifted the focus to Mount Zion and Jerusalem where Jesus fulfills the Old Covenant by giving us the New Covenant. In the Old Testament the presence of God caused great fear, to the point of making God seem unapproachable. By contrast, Jesus now presents us with an amazing new manifestation of God consisting of a vision of the forthcoming heavenly Jerusalem on a heavenly Mount Zion, the dwelling-place of the angels and saints, where we will be able to see God face-to-face and yet still live.
In this week’s Gospel from St. Luke, we see Jesus teaching on the virtue of humility and the vice of pride. Above all Jesus condemns any sense of entitlement we might feel due to our accomplishments or our status. As always, Jesus challenges us to go even farther, to the point where we abandon any self-importance and carry out His mission by reaching out to the people He was concerned with, especially those who did not have status or the ability to repay us. This gospel lesson is a warning against the “evil growth” of pride that is referred to in the first reading from Sirach.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
How often are we motivated by power or prestige? It is a common human failing. Jesus is critical of worldly honor and teaches us to avoid exalting ourselves. He also questions the motives behind our good deeds. Do we treat well only those who will do good to us? Jesus asks us to offer hospitality to those who are unable to repay us. In so doing, we reflect God’s generosity. He invites us to a banquet of infinite value that we can never repay.
Prayer Request from Bishop Vásquez
That we would share our goods with those who are in need and cannot repay us …