November 5, 2023
FOCUS: Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
At the heart of today’s Gospel is this truth: The greatest among you must be your servant. Jesus’ scorn for the scribes and Pharisees was based on their inability to understand this. Jesus took on the role of servant, giving his very life on behalf of the world.
What's in Your Heart
Where is the grace in this set of readings? How can I help my hearers access that?
One day it dawned on me that my eighth-grade teacher was a phony. He was a decent person, I suppose, but he was young and insecure in his first year of teaching. His insecurity led him to try to act tough, but he didn't have the courage to stand up to the wilder kids in the class (and there were some wild kids in our class!). Rather, he would try to exercise control over the kids who were likely to acquiesce and not really cause him problems.
One day when his frustrations were mounting and his control of the class was ebbing, he picked on one girl who was meek and even fearful in class. Why? She happened to laugh at something some of the wilder guys in our class were doing. He knew he could control her and appear that he was in control of the class.
I came home and complained about it at dinner to my parents. And I learned a lesson, perhaps the most important one in eighth grade. Dad said, "Do what he tells you, but not what he does." The teacher was trying to run a decent class, and so it was right that I try to cooperate and also to learn whatever I could from him—even if the lesson was how not to treat others simply when I was afraid.
- If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.
—Saint Teresa of Calcutta
God favors the humble. Scripture tells us that he resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. In fact he gives them everything . . . . He cannot refuse it. He gives himself entirely to humility.
—Cardinal Jean Verdier
Priesthood is not about power, prestige, or privilege. The pedestal has been struck down. The status lost. The Lord cautioned his disciples not to be seeking places of honor.
—Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas
We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently.
—Saint Gregory of Nazianzus