The More Important Focus

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

The movie “Titanic,” produced in 1997, turned out dramatically beautiful that many movie lovers watched the film 3 or 4 times. In a conversation scene, admiring the boat’s beauty and its gigantic size, and asked about the safety of the boat, one of the crew said that even God could not sink the boat. True, God did no sink the boat; hitting a tip of an iceberg did. Overconfidence, presumption and boastfulness brought them and the Titanic down to the bottom of the sea; and they begged for their life.

People, who experienced high-category hurricanes, powerful earthquakes or devastating fires, pointed out that they could do nothing to hide from the disaster, but in fright, they could only call on God and all the Saints, and hoped the expected and unexpected would not happen. In these situations, they realized that when nature works, it does things perfectly, that they are very vulnerable, and that God is the only power they could depend on. There is no room to parade personal skills or human strength.

Overconfidence, presumption and boastfulness are not the traits of a Christian. They are characteristics of a bloated personality. Only light things float, for they are lighter than air. Birds fly because they have wings. But people are made of soil, and have to walk on the ground, of which they are made and to which they shall return. Yet they are also created in the image and likeness of God, so that they can be practical, confident and dependent only in Him in all things.

Humility is not a condition of bashfulness or timidity. Humility is recognizing that we are human, and in need of the assistance and providence of God. Humility, (Latin word humus, meaning earth) makes us realize that we are dust, and given the Spirit of God, we become the crowning glory of His creation. Those who do not recognize this gift walk in the path of darkness and are wanting of the light that comes from the creator. So, “conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God” (Sir 3:17-18).

The following may help us keep our more important focus:

– Pray. By praying you withdraw from the unending demands of work and leisure, and are renewed by the strength and wisdom of God. In prayer you gain humility, for you admit that God should fill your mind with His thoughts, fill your heart with His love and guide you in all your ways. Our Catechism states: “Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter…. we pray as we live, because we live as we pray” (CCC 2752). St. Paul says: Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus…. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it (1 Thess 5:17-24).

– Stop bragging about yourself and your achievements. Not everyone takes them seriously. People know that achievements should serve the good of mankind. Stop all boastfulness and presumption. They only drive people away from you. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Ja 1:26-27). People need the love that gives witness to the presence of Jesus.

– Cultivate the spirit of gratitude. Stop complaining about what you do not have or about the defect of what you have. Complaining and ingratitude make others unhappy and freeze many relationships. Ask the Lord, that in areas where you are not particularly grateful, to make you a little less ungrateful daily, and thus grow in these areas for the joy of your family and your neighbor. Be thankful that you do not have everything, for you will not know what to do with them. Be thankful that you do not know something, so you can talk with others. Be thankful of limitations and opportunities, for they open doors to knowledge and wisdom. We proclaim with the Psalmist: You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise. Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever (Ps 118: 28-29).

– Keep an open eye on the needs of your neighbor. Service should manifest the love of Jesus, who gives Himself in the Eucharist and in the Sacraments for the good of all. Sincere service is good giving and perfect gift from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change (Ja 1:17). When service and humility go together, the glory of God shines brightly in the world.

The Eucharist is not of our own making. It is Jesus, born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger. He lived in the town of Nazareth, a place belittled by the Jewish leaders. It is Jesus, who suffered, died and rose from the dead on account of all, to cast on us the light and truth of the promise of eternal life and partake of the banquet prepared by the Father. We receive the gift of the Eucharist so that we may be filled with the love of Jesus, to protect us from evil and to lead us all as one family to His heavenly glory.

9-1-13

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