lundi, août 06, 2007

Sermon for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Everything is given for the common good. This is essentially the message of Saint Paul that we have heard in today’s epistle. There are different members, but all of them compose only one body. We are parts of this body, and as such, we have, each one of us, our mission to complete for the common good. The gifts we have received, whatever they are, are not for ourselves, but for the community. We have the duty to use them well, but also to be ready to give them up if it is required.

Using our gifts well! It is not so easy, because we have a natural tendency to seek our own glory as a fruit of original sin. We use our gifts as if they were for ourselves. We know how to do something, and we know that we do it well. We also like it that everyone knows that we do it well. Let us ask God to purify our intentions, so that we can work entirely for his own glory.

Another temptation would be to not use our gifts and to hide them, because of a certain laziness. For example someone has a nice voice and could sing in the choir, but he realizes that it means spending many hours in rehearsal. And he certainly has better things to do. In addition to this, he will cover his laziness with a false humility: You know I am a horrible singer!

So, it is a real humility that we need. Humility does not make us deny our gifts, but pushes us to use them well for a good cause. How beautiful is this virtue! God loves it so much because he can really see his own image in a humble soul.

Some people, the neo Pharisees, in fact each time has its Pharisees, the ones who think they know everything about God and of course, they have an answer for every thing, even when you don’t have any questions. They will tell you what God’s will is, as if they know it. You have to do this! Don’t do this and so forth. And of course, they are perfect, at least in appearance. They are not like the rest of men, they do things very well, and by the way, they can never be wrong. How convenient it is! They never have to apologize since they are always right. Good Christians, good parishioners or good priests! Everything could be fine except that God does not look at them.

But He loves humility and when He sees a truly humble person, He looks at him. O God, be merciful to me a sinner! How many times a day do we say that to God?
The fact is that it is so much easier to see the sins of our neighbor rather than ours. I wish that by this we could at least see it as an occasion to practice true charity. When you see your brother doing wrong or evil, you have to tell him. But for one mysterious reason, many people forget this elementary rule of Christian life and instead of correcting the one who is in error, they go to someone else to speak about him. They miss a wonderful occasion to do a good work and fall into one of the most detestable behaviors for a Christian: detraction! They might find a kind of comfort with people who think like them, rejoicing that they are not like other men. At least, they don’t do this like this poor soul they are talking about. Look at them, these magnificent souls proud of their perfections! Look at them well, because one day you might be tempted to act like them.

For us, we would like to imitate this humble man praying to God: Be merciful to me a sinner! It is truly what we are: sinners. But if you recognize this fact and humble yourself, then God will look at you and will give you peace in your hearts.

Peace in your hearts! This is what I ask for each one of you and for myself. May Our Lady, Queen of humility help us to obtain and teach us how to humble ourselves. We have nothing to lose but our reputation in this world. Maybe it is just what we need in order to become Saints.

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