31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
NOV. 5, 2023. Whoever Humbles Oneself Will Be Exalted.
Who doesn't desire the praise and respect of others? We want others to see us at our best with all our strengths and achievements - rather than at our worst with all of our faults and shortcomings. We all aspire to be “HALL OF FAMERS”! Don’t we? Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers, and rulers of Israel, to teach and serve their people with humility and sincerity rather than with pride and self-seeking privileges and honor. They went to great lengths to draw attention to their religious status and practices, always bragging: "See how well we observe all the ritual rules and regulations of our religion!" In their misguided zeal for religion, they sought recognition and honor for themselves rather than for God. They made the practice of their faith a burden rather than a joy for the people they were supposed to serve.
Life Message: Why did Jesus rebuke the scribes and Pharisees, the religious authorities of the Jewish people, in the presence of his disciples? Jesus wanted to warn both his own disciples and the religious leaders about the temptation to seek honors and titles that draw attention to ourselves in place of God and his word. Pride tempts us to put ourselves first above others. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6; Prov. 3:24).
Conclusion: Respect for God and for His ways inclines us to humility and to simplicity of heart - the willing readiness to seek the one true good who is God Himself. What is the nature of true humility and why should we embrace it as essential for our lives? Humility frees us to love and serve others willingly and selflessly, for their own sake, rather than for our own. Paul the Apostle gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and... who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:7-8).
Q= Do you want to be a servant as Jesus loved and served others? The Lord Jesus gives us his heart - the heart of a servant who seeks the good of others and puts their interests first in his care and concern for them.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of selfish pride and self-concern. Teach me to be humble as you are humble and to love others generously with selfless service and kindness.