The reading from the Gospel today amplifies what we heard yesterday about humility and the service of others being the hallmark of discipleship. I suppose that we can take comfort in the fact that even his closest associates didn’t catch on to the message all that quickly. “Getting ahead in the world” seems to be genetically imprinted upon us.
In the homily he preached for his father’s funeral, Fr. Paul Scalia made this statement: “We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”
I know that I was caught off guard when I heard this statement. Who of us didn’t think he was speaking of his father when he was, in fact, speaking of Jesus? Loved yet scorned, known but also unknown, a man of controversy and compassion – Jesus does not simply practice humility. Jesus is humility incarnate; Jesus is God who loves us so much that he was willing to set aside all that goes with being divine in order to be fully human.
If “getting ahead in the world” is genetically imprinted upon us, then we are called upon to do just what Jesus did, only in reverse. We must set aside all that goes with being human in order to be a little bit divine, a little bit like Jesus. Each day we witness that humility as Jesus graciously abides among us and gives us the gift of himself in the Eucharist we eat and drink.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator