Homily — 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time C September 2, 2007

Homily — 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time C    September 2, 2007

When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor.

Every Sunday at Mass, after the Lamb of God, the priest holds the Body and Blood of Christ up before the congregation and says what’s called in Latin the Ecce Angus Dei.  It could be translated from the Latin as:  “Behold (Jesus), the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those who are invited to the (wedding) banquet of the Lamb.”

Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding banquet.

A certain “Someone” my brothers and sisters, has invited us to a wedding banquet, and that someone is Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Every Sunday, Christ invites us to the wedding banquet of the Eucharist.

You have approached Mt. Zion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of believers now in Heaven, and the souls of the just now made perfect, and God the judge, and Jesus — it’s all here, right now before us.

And as Jesus says in the Gospel today, When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor . . . but take the lowest place.

Jesus isn’t so much telling us to take the back pew at Mass. He’s saying that we can’t come to this banquet saying “God and these other guests should be honored to have me at this banquet!”

If we put ourselves in a place of honor, God’s going to come along some day and tell us we don’t belong on the pedestal we’ve placed ourselves on, and knock us off of it hopefully in this life for our own good, and not in the next.

But if we come to the wedding banquet of the Lamb taking the lowest place — realizing that we’re far from perfect, aware of our sins, and emptying ourselves of pride and vanity, then Jesus will look on our lowliness and say “friend, move up to a higher position.”

To ensure that we’re taking the lowest place when we come to the wedding banquet of Mass every Sunday, we must exercise the virtue of humility each day throughout the week.

Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.  Humility is the toughest of all virtues to grow in, because humility is directly opposed to the number one sin of pride.

A little prayer book I have gives a list of eight practical  little ways we can daily grow in humility:
1.   accepting the constructive criticisms and even the corrections we receive

2.  resisting the temptation to vanity when we are     complemented or praised, (and not looking for complements either);
3.  “stifling the urge to get the last word in”;

4.  trying not to draw attention to ourselves by our words or actions;

5.  admitting we were wrong regarding things we previously thought we were absolutely right about;

6.  being open to spiritual growth and direction, whether from a spiritual leader or good  Catholic spiritual direction book;

7.  trying each day to see our neighbor in an optimistic and positive light;  and finally

8.  realizing that we’re not irreplaceable, that the world would go on without us.

As Jesus says, whoever humbles himself in this way will be exalted by God.  And humility will make us grow in every other virtue because Pride will cease to get in the way — we’ll be able to see the other areas we need to grow in so that Jesus can say Friend, come up higher to us.

At the end of every celebration of the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb, the Priest says Ite, Missa Est.  Which could be roughly translated from the Latin as:  “Go now, you have your mission”

And our mission is to go tell others, by our actions and by our words:  “Behold the meal is ready, come to the Wedding Feast.

We are called to invite others to a relationship with Jesus in His Catholic Church.

And as the second parable says, it takes no humility at all to invite our spiritual brothers and sisters — the people we see each week at Mass —  to come to Jesus.

It takes no humility at all either to invite the Spiritually Wealthy people, those who already have a rich relationship to the Lord.

But it does take great humility and trust in God’s graces to invite the spiritually poor, crippled, lame and blind to a life of faith.

To invite that neighbor of ours who has been spiritually crippled through scandal, that co-worker who’s spiritually lame through bad upbringing, that relative who’s spiritually blind because they’ve become caught up in the ways of the world — these are the people Jesus says Ite, Missa Est — “Go, you have your mission to bring them here to me.”

May Jesus give us the gift of humility to witness to Him before everyone we meet in the world, that we may be repaid by Him in the Resurrection of the Righteous.

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