Along with the honor of serving St. Isidore as the Business Manager, I serve as the Youth Minister at St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Rochester Hills. Working with high school youth for the last quarter century has had a profound impact on my life, as there are numerous stories where young people have helped draw me closer to God through their authentically humble lives. A specific, remarkable story on humility that comes to mind is when one of my seniors was overlooked for a peer voted award at the conclusion of the youth group year. After spending the entire year with this youth and subsequently our year-end mission trip, I was confident that he’d win the award which was given to the person who made the biggest difference on his/her class throughout our work program. To my surprise, he did not win the award. Once I realized the results had been tallied, I approached him just so he too wasn’t surprised when the award was presented at the banquet. Instead of responding with disappointment or even frustration, he simply said to me “Maybe God knew the other person needed the award more than I did.” I was amazed that at such a young age, this young man saw the big picture. He wasn’t worried about being honored for his role, but instead he was focused on how he would continue to serve the way he always has, because it is the right thing to do. This is authentic humility.
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Luke tells a story of humility. He features a story of Jesus sharing a parable (simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson) with the Pharisees. In it, he talks about taking a less important seat at the wedding feast, as opposed to pining for the most honorable seat. He states “when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.”
As we go forth from Mass this weekend, being sent out into the world to bring Christ’s light to everyone we encounter, I think it is worth noting that we are called to trust in God’s plan and not worry about the accolades that may come along the way. Many people will work to exalt themselves (think of how this is done through social media!), but the humble will one day be exalted in heaven. We are challenged to live our lives trusting in the Lord’s providence and to embrace the virtue of humility.