A special thank you this week to our friends from St. Joseph/Immaculate Conception Parish, Chicago, and St. Benedict Parish, Chicago in the congregation.

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The story goes something like this, there was a young man who was thinking about the possibility of becoming a priest, so he went to his very wise, elderly pastor, and he asked his wise pastor what he should do to become a priest. And the wise pastor looked at the young man and said you need to live in humility. That’s all the wise pastor said. You need to live in humility.

So the young man went around and he sold all of his clothing, and he wore a blanket around. And then he put tacks in his shoes, so that he would humbly hobble around town because of the tacks in his shoes. And then he went and he would play in the snow, because the snow was cold and he would experience pain, and then he would ask someone to give him 40 lashes every morning so that he might live humbly.

Well, after a year of all that nonsense, the young man went back to his wise pastor and said I have lived humbly for the past year. And the pastor said, well, what you’ve shown to people is that all the exterior trappings of humility, that’s what you’ve shown to people, but you have not appropriated humility for yourself. You’ve not lived humility with your whole heart.

Go live humility, and we’ll talk again about the priesthood. Well, the young man was quite surprised, and he went to go figure out what it mean to live humility for the future. I share that little story only because Jesus comes down pretty hard on the scribes and pharisees. He really take the scribes and pharisees to task, and He says to His disciples, there’re preaching about it, but they’re not living it.

Really, Jesus asks us to live that beautiful power of humility and generosity in our own lives. Well what does that look like? What does it look like to live humbly with our brothers and sisters? Well I think Jesus’ advice is, first of all, to share the good news of the fact that we are first and foremost disciples of Jesus, and as disciples of Jesus, we’re called to really live that joy of the gospel, first of all, in our hearts.

Live with joy in our hearts, because we’re followers of Jesus. And then share that joy with our brothers and sisters. I think oftentimes we find ourselves correcting others all the time. Well, I don’t think people are going to see the joy of the gospel if we’re correcting people all the time.

First, let’s share the joy of living out as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. And then share our faith in Christ Jesus with our brothers and sisters humbly, lovingly, and with joy, share the good news that’s been shared with us. And if we do so, we’ll find ourselves attractive. If we do so we’ll find ourselves having other disciples joining us around the eucharistic table in prayer, and in thanksgiving.

Humility, joy, kindness, and love with our brothers and sisters, that’s what Jesus says is going to win the day.