Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
September 1st, 2013
Year C

When I was reflecting on this Sunday’s readings, I began to ask myself: What does it mean to really live for something? It seems to me that it entails being passionate about something, knowing a lot about it and sacrificing for it. I also think that it takes a great deal of humility as well, to learn about it and perfect it. While we would all agree that this is true with regard to patriotism, athletics, work, and family, I also think that this is true with regard to our faith.

The Book of Sirach speaks of this humility. Sirach forms part of the wisdom tradition of the Old Testament. At the time of its writing, Greek philosophy was proving to be very influential. Many Jews of the time were turning their backs on the Law of God and the traditional teachings of Israel to follow foreign teachers. Reason, in its pride, thought that it could find the answer to everything, which made it difficult to accept in all simplicity truths that God put within the reach of those who sincerely sought wisdom. Since they were so easily persuaded they were not open to learning about their own faith nor learn from it, they were not passionate about it, unwilling to sacrifice for it, unwilling to die for it, unwilling to live for it. They thought they knew better and thus, were not very humble.

The same exact thing is happening in this culture with regard to our own faith. We are so easily influenced by what we hear about the Catholic faith that comes from the secular media. In this sense, we can be a lot like those Jews who left their faith. We tend be swayed by outside sources rather than seek to understand more fully the richness of our traditions and teachings. As such, we sometimes think that we know better than the Church. This can translate into a lack of passion about our faith, about the Church, about a deeply personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Hence, we are unwilling to sacrifice and really live for our faith. We forget that faith requires a great deal of humility.

We hear Jesus speaking about humility in the Gospel as well. He uses the parable in order to demonstrate how pride can get us into trouble. Here, Jesus’ message is one of good manners, prudential judgment and a warning against self-honor. This is pride at work. How does one conquer pride? Through humility. 

The virtue of humility is second among the virtues following the theological and cardinal virtues. It is the virtue that undergirds all the others and is necessary for salvation. It is proper to humility, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, that it aims at great things through confidence in God’s help. For “the more one subjects oneself to God, the more he is exalted in God’s sight” (ST II-II, q 161, a 2). He wrote in the Summa Theoligica that:

“The reason why Christ chiefly proposed humility to us, was because it removes the obstacle to man’s spiritual welfare consisting in aiming at heavenly and spiritual things, in which he is hindered by striving to become great in earthly things… Thus humility is, as it were, a disposition to man’s untrammeled access to spiritual and divine goods” (II-II, q 161, a 5).

Faith requires humility because it sets, above all else, a deep trust in God. It seeks the good of the soul, a person’s spiritual well-being and divine blessings over and above earthly favors and honors. Humility seeks the truth of reality – spiritual and earthly. This virtue, in its quest for spiritual goods, seeks to learn from the richness of the faith in which it is lived. There is a passion for the Lord that is animated by humility because the object of this virtue is union Christ Himself, in heart, mind and soul. There is an openness of heart that leads to greater perfection of the soul and communion with the Savior. Humility teaches us how to learn from our faith traditions, how to sacrifice for the Lord, how to truly love and to really live for God.

We must remember that humility is not the same as being humiliated. To be humiliated is to be disgraced. To have humility – to be humble – is to be unassuming, meek, gentle, kind, understanding, docile, accepting, acquiescent, and filled with the grace and favor of God. We need only turn to Our Blessed Mother in order to learn that which is true humility. Everyday we encounter opportunities to be humble. May we chose in our intellect and will, heart and soul, the path of humility, the one that leads us grace and more deeply held communion with God.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, touch our hearts and make them like Your own!






Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.



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