Last Tuesday we had our monthly parish council meeting. Being the first meeting following the June elections, our primary task was to elect the new officers and choose the commission liaison to the council. Our new chair is Tyler Murrell, vice-chair is Helen Stuller and the Secretary is Juanita Johnson. As we began to select the liaisons to the commissions I became more and more confused about who wanted to do what; who was returning, who wanted to change jobs, etc. By the time we were finished, I looked at Tyler and said, “You handle this!”
It was humbling! I don’t like being confused!! Today our readings focus upon humility with Sirach saying, “Conduct your affairs with humility” and Jesus saying, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Let’s talk.
Sirach says, “Conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gift.” So, a humble person is more attractive than a gift giver! Now, some kids might dispute this, but I do believe there is much truth in this statement. A humble person accepts themselves for who they are and has no need to brag or be arrogant. The word, “humble” comes from the Latin word, humus, which means earthy. Humble people are of the earth.
A few years ago I found out what “Koetter” means in German! It means “Small, dirt farmer!” I come from earthy ancestry, humble folks!
Humble people are more concerned about others than about themselves. That is why we enjoy being with them since they are more interested in us. Humble people will ask us, “How are you doing” and they mean it! Humble people have a way of getting us talking and they are able to make us feel important in the process.
My first pastor was Fr. Jim Sweeney and I have heard his parishioners say that Fr. Sweeney always made you feel like you were important to him. He could make you feel special. I believe our present archbishop, Joseph Tobin, has the same ability. This is one sign of a humble person…you feel better in their presence.
Humble people do not need places of honor at the table. They are quite content being with the less powerful, less influential, less important. Maybe humble people realize that those without power, influence or importance are also more real, more human, more enjoyable.
Fr. Paul's Homily
In the movie, The Titanic, when Jack, the poor, homeless man from Wisconsin, meets Rose, the socialite of upper society, he takes her down into the steerage section where the poorest people are making the voyage. What Rose finds out is that it is among these folks, who have little, where she experiences the most joy, energy and vitality toward life; much more than she experienced in the upper society culture. The humble are often the more interesting also!
So, what can we learn from our readings:
Be humble and you might find people enjoy your company.
Sit among the people at the lower end of the economy and see what wisdom they might teach us.
Be wise enough to have an attentive ear and learn the wisdom of others.