Homily: Aug 30, 2013

 +  Pax et Bonum!

              Most of us are unaware that one of the greatest violin virtuosos in our world today is from Indiana.  Joshua Bell, who was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, has become a world-class musician and an acclaimed interpreter of Mozart, and Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.  The 45-year-old Bell was a child prodigy, with natural musical talent.  But what is also true is that Joshua Bell is a highly-driven individual at whatever he set out to accomplish.  Whether it was chess, or computers, or the violin, or video games, Mr Bell has always worked relentlessly to master his environment and to become his very best.  In the world of classical music and classical violin, Joshua Bell has already arrived at the pinnacle of success.  A few years ago, when he was at home in Bloomington, a twelve-year-old boy approached him and announced, “You’re Joshua Bell, aren’t you?  You’re famous.”  And with all the humility that a world-class violinist could muster, “Well, ummm, not really,” Bell replied.  But the kid insisted, “Yes, really!”  Then he went on to explain, “Your name is on every video game in Bloomington as the highest scorer.”

              You see, greatness is measured in different ways by different people.  We know from Jesus’ parable today, that the Kingdom of Heaven also has its own standard of greatness.  And that that standard is one of humility and servanthood. 

              We don’t hear much about humility today.  Instead we hear much more about self-assurance, and good self-esteem, and about how worth it we are.  And how’s that working for us?  Pride is NOT the answer.  It never has been.  It doesn’t work real well, does it?  The truth is that we know ourselves.  We know all too well all of imperfections, all of our sins, and all of our weaknesses and failures.  Then why is it so hard for us to be humble?  The dictionary defines humble as having or showing feelings of humility rather than of pride, being aware of one’s shortcomings, modest, and meek.  Being humble exemplifies a deferential respect.  It is being lowly or unpretentious.  Humility is lacking terribly in our world today.

              And yet today at Mass, Jesus is asking us to find ourselves not in our pride, but in our humility.  God is offering us all so much more when we make Him and our brothers and sisters the priorities in our life, and not ourselves!  God will raise us up.  We don’t have to do it ourselves, because God will take care of us.  All we have to do is to put ourselves humbly at His service!

             God didn’t just talk to us about this.  God showed us the ultimate kind of humility when God Himself came down from Heaven and became a man, the humblest of men.  He, an innocent man, was nailed to a cross in a criminal’s death, in the ultimate expression of humility.  He didn’t demand royal treatment.  He didn’t throw a fit when He didn’t get His way.  He didn’t even demand that His creatures respect and honor Him!  He lived humility as an example for all of us to observe and follow.  And what a difference it can make.

             Just Look at our new Pope, our Holy Father, Pope Francis!  Pope Francis has ignited the world and the Church with his honest humility.  The Pope is showing us that today to be a Christian, most especially to be a Catholic Christian, means that you have to become a humble servant leader for your brothers and sisters, all your brothers and sisters.  If the Pope can make such an impact with his humility, just think what you and I can do with ours!  We can simplify our lives and our needs, and re-prioritize our lives, centered on Jesus Christ, and we can change every thing. 

             We may not be one of the world’s greatest violin virtuosos and we also may not have the highest records on any video games in town, but all of us can be more humble.  For it is only when we become less and lesser, that God can become great and greater in our lives!

            +  May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                          AMEN !!!

                                                           St. Maria Goretti…                    Pray for us !!!