Click here for the readings of Sunday, September 1, 2019 and below for the bulletin.
The first reading talks about humility. I remember when I was young that whenever I had an achievement and I was happy about it, my mom would say, "Be humble!" I understood that to mean "don't brag", but I don't think I really understood what humility, or being humble meant until I was in my 30's.
Now, the best understanding of the meaning to me today is "I cannot do it." One level could be "I cannot do it...alone," but another level could be "I cannot do it...at all". In other words, I cannot do it, BUT there is one who did it, and continues to do it through us if we allow Him, and that's Jesus himself. Jesus invites us to take our abilities, which are limited, and unite them to His abilities which are limitless. By allowing ourselves to unite the gifts He has given to us BACK to God, the limits of our abilities are removed.
The psalm this Sunday is "God in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor." Often times when we hear the word "poor," we think of those that are poor materially, or homeless. But what we don't realize is that most, if not all, of us are spiritually homeless or spiritually poor. God has made a dwelling place, a home for us spiritually homeless, spiritually poor, but the problem is, sometimes we don't want to enter tHis home. Or perhaps, we're afraid or ignorant to enter. But God continues to extend his invitation, to "Not be afraid" and to give Him a chance. Once we make our dwelling IN Him, there's no place we'd rather be.
In essence, the second reading tells me that, "Heaven is for real;" that heaven is someplace, someone, something tangible, in the flesh, God made man - Jesus, the only begotten Son of God himself. But when we think of Heaven, we think of it as someplace that we experience only when our physical bodies have passed from this earth. What if I were to tell you, that Heaven can be on earth as it is in heaven (as in the prayer Our Father)? Every time the Celebration of the Eucharist is done in the Mass, Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity becomes present, veiled in bread and wine. In other words, Heaven on earth. When we consume Jesus' body and blood, Heaven enters us; and from within us, Jesus consumes us - transforming our brokenness into His own broken, bloody, and bruised body into resurrected, divine glory. We are transformed INto Christ himself.
The gospel continues the theme of humility from the first reading; "first will be last, and last will be first." It also talks about decision making - "who to invite to lunch" or, in other words, who you interact with. Most of the time, we choose to interact with certain individuals because we know we will benefit from the relationship - either materially, or mentally. What eases my mind when encountering individuals that are not pleasant, or have problems mentally is that the presence of God is in that person too by virtue of creation and who He created us to be. Because of this virtue, nothing can remove the fact that we were created by God and called by name. What also eases my mind about interacting with less-savory individuals, is that God loves them just as He loves me. So rather than allow myself to interact with them, I allow myself to receive the presence of God, the presence of Love through that person, even if that Divine Love is not clearly evident. I allow myself to trust in that presence of God (no matter how deeply buried or covered that presence may be), trust in the virtue of God's creation, trust that just like the other person, I too am being transformed gently and tenderly INto God's dwelling, INto His home.
Therein lies the reward when we're "repaid at the resurrection..."