Wednesday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time      

            Pride is one of the most difficult sins to overcome. The only effective way seems to be to take the opportunity to humble one’s self whenever it arises. This means being willing to embrace the uncomfortable, inconvenient, unpopular, and even ‘thankless’ way of helping others and serving the community – particularly when no one else seems to want to do the task at hand.

            It is much easier to get volunteers for tasks in the parish that are performed “in public” – or seen by people – and with “official appointment” or “designated position.” Very few people volunteer for tasks in the parish that are performed “at the backstage” – unseen and unrecognized – perhaps even considered as “insignificant” and “not worthwhile.” This seems to be a part of our fallen human nature.

            If we are going to learn the way of humility or humble service, it is important for us to be willing to do both types of jobs. There will be plenty of opportunities for both – particularly in our community. Having said that, I think that God looks more favorably upon those who volunteer for the jobs that no one else wants to do. Why? Because that is exactly the pattern of the life of Jesus. Jesus took on the most awful job of all – dying on the cross in order to liberate and save us. There were no other takers for the job; he was the only one who volunteered. Well, yes, the Father chose him; but he also freely chose to be obedient to the Father’s will in this matter.

            Here, then, is the perfect example of service that we should all strive to imitate: service that does not seek for recognition and appreciation; service that does not need official appointment and position. As Howard Hendricks said, “God is not looking for more stars; He is looking for more servants.” Or as Albert Einstein said, “It is high time we change the ideal of success for the ideal of service.” Sad to say, often our attitude is, “I am willing to be servant; I do not want to be treated like one.”

            Jesus does not ask us to do anything that he has not first accomplished himself. The call to humility is at the heart of any true disciple’s life. And it is the only foundation that will allow a ministry or apostolate to endure and bear the fruits that God wants it to bear. Let us pray that we will have the grace and humility to take them up and fulfill them according to God’s will.

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