Alternative Sermon for 15th after Pentecost Yr C-Br. Simeon

Alternative Sermon for 28th January – Br. Simeon

” For everyone who exhalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exhalted…
” 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”

humility-300

Moses, Jesus and an old man are golfing. Moses steps up to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and lands in the water trap. Moses parts the water and chips the ball onto the green. Jesus steps up to the tee and hits the ball. It goes sailing over the fairway and heads for the water trap, but, just before it falls into the water, a fish jumps up and grabs the ball in its mouth. As the fish is falling back down into the water an eagle swoops down and grabs the fish in its claws. The eagle flies over the green where a lightning bolt shoots from the sky and barely misses it. Startled, the eagle drops the fish. When the fish hits the ground the ball pops out of its mouth and rolls into the hole for a hole – in- one.
Jesus then turns to the old man and says, ” Dad, if you don’t stop fooling around, we won’t bring you next time.”

May the word’s of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer, Amen.

Gospel humility ( a key theme of Luke’s Gospel) is not a religious sado-masochism motivated by self-hatred or obsequeousness.  As taught by Christ,  humility is an awareness of who we are before God; of our constant need for God and our dependance on God for everything; of the limitlessness of God’s love and forgiveness.  The Jesus of the Gospel, “who, though in the form of God, humbled himself… accepting even death on the cross” is the perfect model of the humble servant of God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to embrace the attitude of seeking out the ” lowest places” at table for the sake of others, promising that at the banquet of heaven God will exhalt such humility. In teaching us to invite to our tables ” those who cannot repay you,” Jesus challenges us to imitate the love of God: doing what was right, good and just for the joy of doing so, not out of a sense of duty, self-interest or the need to feel superior or in control.  ” Nothing can  so effectively humble us before God’s mercy as the multitude of his benefits,” wrote Francis de Sales, ” and nothing can so deeply humble us before his justice as our countless offences against him.”

Gospel-centred humility realises that we are not the centre of all things but part of a much larger world, humility that is centred on gratitude for all the blessings we have received as a result of the depth of God’s love and not because of anything we have done to deserve it. Faced with this realisation, all we can do it to try and return that love to those round us.

Humility is the virtue of suspending our own wants and needs in order to consciously seek God in all people and experiences. Trtue humility is centred on the things of God – love, compassion, mercy, selflessness, tolerance and forgivness.

The spirit of humility as taught by Jesus is not the diminishing of one’s self but the realisation that we share with every human being the sacred dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God.  To be humble as Christ teaches humility is to see one another as God sees us and to rejoice in being ministers to them in their joys and struggles.

God’s banquet table includes places of honour for every poor, hurting, confused soul. At the Gospel banquet table, we are both guests and servers: We welcome and are welcomed as children of the same God and Father: as sons and daughters of God, we share equally in the  bounty of this table; as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the vineyard given to us by our loving Father.

Kneeling at the feet of Jesus Christ, we are all loved, we are all cared for, and we have all been offered the same gift of forgiveness and salvation. As we prepare our hearts and minds for communoin today, let us pray that God will give us the grace to practice the kind of etiquette we learn at God’s table outside these walls in our daily lives – that’s the kind of etiquette that will be truly rewarded….

Amen

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