There are few days in our lives that signal change as much as Labor Day or our birthdays. The reality of the passing of time becomes more tangible as we live these days that boldly invite us to pay attention, to reflect and to change. Although “back to school” may be a distant memory for some of us, the change in the weather, the amount of daylight and the turning of the leaves force us to pay attention to the changes. So do the Scripture readings for this Sunday.
In our “put yourself first” national climate, Sirach’s wisdom is startling: “humble yourself…, …seek not what is too sublime for you, …into things beyond your strength search not.” This is not an invitation to passivity but rather wisdom’s way of putting our lives into perspective. We are not God. We are invited to live with the insight and the strength that comes from recognizing our limitations. We are not God, but we are God’s beloved.
The section of Matthew’s Gospel we hear echoes the message of Sirach. Jesus, God’s wisdom incarnate, invites us to choose humility over “me first.” To be humble is to see oneself in relation to the rest of creation, a wonderful part but not the whole. To be humble is to listen to the earth and all the changes of nature that invite transformation from life to death to life. To be humble is to wait with attention for an invitation rather than to push roughly ahead. To be humble is to be righteous, one who tries to live with the heart and understanding of God, who is the thoughtful and sensitive host who invites us to take a “higher position” after we have invited the poor, the refugee, the children and the ravaged earth to come to the table first.
The section from the Letter to the Hebrews has the drama of Les Miserables or the Phantom of the Opera or Jesus Christ Superstar. But the scene described in such vividness is a trumpet call to live with attention, reflection and change now—now is the kairos moment. What might happen in our lives and in our world if we lived with this determination, with this unity of purpose, with this sacrificial love? “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has readied for those who love God; Spirit of love, come, give us the mind of Jesus, teach us the wisdom of God (I Cor. 2: 9-10).”
There is no time like the present to change our hearts and our lives… There is no time like the present to beg God to give us the strength of unselfish love and humility.
-Sr. Mary Laura Lesniak, SSMN
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