The theme of our celebration is humility, which is the same as truth or wisdom. We will listen to the counsels given by Ben Sirach in the first reading, and of Jesus, our teacher, in the Gospel.
THE BOOK OF SIRACH OR ECCLESIASTICUS
· It is a wisdom book which is part of the deuterocanonical books, the books of the second list. These are the books that the people of Israel do not recognize as revealed, they were written in foreign lands in Greek, not in Hebrew. Our brothers and sisters from other Christian traditions do not acknowledge them either as part of the canonical books.
· For us in the Christian Catholic tradition this book (Ecclesiasticus) is counted among the revealed books.
· It is part of the wisdom literature, so common in the Middle East.
· The original book, was written in Hebrew by a man known as Simon son of Jesus, who was the grand- father of the man who translated the book into the Greek language. (see foreword of the Catholic Study Bible)
· In chapter 51, the author Simon son of Jesus says that he has looked for wisdom with passion, and this is the wisdom he shares with the reader.
FIRST READING Sir 3:17-18, 20-, 28-29
The author addresses someone as "my son" It can be his real son or it may be the way an elder person speaks to a younger one.
v He gives the following counsels:
ü Humility, the reward of conducting oneself with humility will be the love of those who know him or her, they will love him more than they love those who make gifts.
ü If you are greater, humble yourself the more.
ü Avoid what is over your possibilities
ü a listening ear gives joy to the wise.
this listening is not of anything, not of gossips, not of novelties...
in Scripture a listening ear means to be attentive to what God is saying to us through the events of life, through other persons and through creation, it has the same meaning as obedience.
The joy comes to us when we listen to God and obey him, even when we experience suffering because of that obedience, there is an inner peace.
ü The reading ends with the sentence " water quenches the fire, alms atone for sin."
RESPONSORIAL PSAL - Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
GOD IN YOUR GOODNESS, YOU HAVE MADE A HOME FOR THE POOR.
The just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the Lord.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God,
upon your inheritance
you restored the land when it languished;
your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
GOSPEL - LUKE 14:1,7-14
Ø Like the lasts Sundays, we hear Jesus teaching what is the Kingdom and how are we supposed to behave in the kingdom, which has already begun on earth.
Ø Luke tells us that Jesus recommended humility, as a way to behave in relationship with others. As always Jesus teaches.
Ø The first reading invited us to live a simple life without ambitions or looking for what goes beyond our capacities.
Ø Humility according to St. Therese of Avila, is the same as truth.
Ø The root of this word is the Latin word humus which means dust of the earth. We have been made from the same matter as the rest of creation. It is the transforming love of God who has transformed our mud into light, into divine life which he has given to us, and which he is willing to continue giving to all and everyone.
Ø Let us listen to the teaching of Jesus, what he tells us as he sees the guest at the wedding looking for the first seats, those who are closer to the married couple.
Ø Jesus says to us:
· If you go to a wedding banquet do not sit at the place of honor
· Why? Very simple, if these sits have been assigned to other people by the owner of the house, he will ask you to move back and give your sit to the person for whom it has been reserved.
· You will feel shame and will have to stand up and go to a lower place.
· But if you sit at the last place, then you will have the chance to move to a higher place.
· If we think higher of us than what we really are, we will suffer a lot of humiliations, but if we recognize who we are, simple and lowly persons created and loved by God, then the Lord will honor us.
· After that parable Jesus says some words that always make us wonder, because we do not fully understand what do they mean.
· Do not invite those who can repay you... relatives, friends, important persons... What is wrong about inviting them to a dinner in our home? Does not friendship grow through those celebrations?
· Yes, but Jesus does not say that, he is simply saying that we should not take advantage of other people, inviting them to get something from them.
· The list of guests he mentions is the image of those who cannot pay us back: lame, poor, blind...
· Blessed are you because they cannot repay you, it is the heavenly Father who will repay you on the last day, the day of the retribution because you have served your brothers and sisters in need.
SECOND READING : Heb 12:18-19,22-24a
This passage of the letter to the Hebrews, offers to us the contrast between the theophanies of the Old Covenant, and those of the New Covenant.
In the Old Covenant the theophanies to the patriarch, during the exodus, to the prophets are always described by means of terrifying natural phenomena. It is a way to explain to us that God is THE OTHER, transcendent, whom we cannot approach or touch.
The description of the presence of God among us in the New Covenant are through the person of a simple man, Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, known as the son of Joseph and of Mary, who lived a life like the life of any Israelite of his time with simplicity and fidelity.
This man so simple is the Second Person of the Trinity who comes to us under kind and attractive signs.
This man is the mediator of the New Covenant which is so different from the Old one in its manifestations.
Now that I have said something about how much God our Lord is pleased by a disinterested heart, this great king of heaven and earth has protected, guided and governed me since the moment His powerful hand took me out of the convent of Tarragona (which was my first heaven) until he brought me to this new world, Santiago, Cuba city, with so great security in the midst of so many and imminent risks that only your infinite power, my God could save my life.
When God our Lord had decreed from eternity that I would leave the convent, His Divine Majesty disposed, for my greater affliction the coming of the royal permission to accept profession. It has more than 15 years that it was forbidden by the government and almost ten since I was a novice, eagerly expecting the happy day of my profession. A moment of true anguishes! Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography, 93-94.
Asking and begging for love continuously and incessantly, without flagging or growing tired of asking for it, however late it seems in coming. Praying to Jesus and Mary and, above all, asking our Father who is in heaven, through the merits of Jesus and Mary, in the sure hope that that good Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking thus.
Hungering and thirsting after this love. Just as a man who is physically hungry and thirsty is always thinking of ways to satisfy his craving and asks for food and drink wherever he thinks he can get them, I am resolved to do so by my sighs and burning desires. I turn to the Lord and ask Him with all my heart, "O my Lord, you are my love, my honor, my hope, and my refuge! You are my life, my glory, my goal! O my love, my happiness, my sustainer! O my delight, my reformer, my master, my Father! O my love!" Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 443-444.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Commentary to the Biblia de nuestro Pueblo
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.