READINGS for 2007-11-03
“...the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11
Martin de Porres was an illegitimate son of a colored freed woman from a Spanish gentleman.
He suffered the taunts of a society that labeled him a “half-breed” or a “war souvenir.”
Martin was raised in dire poverty after his father abandoned them. At 12, he was an apprentice to a barber-surgeon. He cut hair and dressed wounds. After years of helping others in the field of medicine, Martin offered his services to the Dominicans. He didn’t think he was worthy of joining the order as a religious brother; instead, he applied as a lay helper. It was this humility and his piety that led the Dominicans to ask him to make full religious profession nine years later.
When their monastery was in debt, Martin offered himself to be sold to pay off their obligations. He said, “I am only a poor mulatto. I am the property of the order.”
That never happened, of course, but God rewarded Martin’s devotion with extraordinary signs and wonders like bilocation and ecstasies that would cause him to levitate.
At his canonization, Pope John XXIII said of Martin: “He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins.” There’s much we can learn from this saint’s humility and godliness. Rissa S.
“You are not humble when you humble yourself, but when you are humbled by others and you bear it for Christ.”(The Way, no. 594)
Lord, meek and humble of heart, make me more like You. Amen.
Martin de Porres lived an extraordinary life of faith in his service of the poor and disadvantaged of Lima (Peru) and beyond. There is a story that the Bishop of Lima wanted to consult Martin about a point of theology and so sent out 14 messengers to different parts of the city to locate him. Each came back with an answer to the question revealing that this holy saint not only could bilocate (be present in two different places at the same time) but could at least 14-locate! Why God causes such things to happen I do not know, but perhaps there would not be the need for Martin to be present in so many places at once if more people were living their faith commitment to the full.
1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Of course not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 11 Hence I ask, did they stumble so as to fall? Of course not! But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression is enrichment for the world, and if their diminished number is enrichment for the Gentiles, how much more their full number. 25 I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise in your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in, 26 and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion, he will turn away godlessness from Jacob; 27 and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
P S A L M
Psalm 94:12-13, 14-15, 17-18
R: The Lord will not abandon His people.
12 Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD, whom by your law you teach, 13 giving him rest from evil days. (R) 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, nor abandon his inheritance; 15 but judgment shall again be with justice, and all the upright of heart shall follow it. (R) 17 Were not the LORD my help, I would soon dwell in the silent grave. 18 When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your kindness, O LORD, sustains me. (R)
G O S P E L
Luke 14:1, 7-11
True humility can never endanger our salvation or our standing in the eyes of others; arrogance is always a dangerous path to walk. It is always important for us to seek the path that will most reflect the way that Jesus would respond to a situation and He was the most humble man who ever walked the earth. One further thing, humility always embraces the truth and will never set the truth aside for any sort of expedient reason or means. The truth will set us free and the path that truth walks is that of humility.
1 On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. 7 He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, 9 and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. 10 Rather, 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. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The truth will set us free and the path that truth walks is that of humility.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Luke 9-10
TEMPERING THE EGO
A part of us that is hard to change is our love for recognition and affirmation.
The story goes that when Michelangelo first made the “Pieta”– his marble sculpture depicting a youthful and serene Mary grieving over her dead son Jesus who was on her lap – everyone spoke highly about it. Some went to the point of saying: the masterpiece was too good to be Michelangelo’s. So, one evening Michelangelo sneaked into the Vatican Basilica where the“Pieta” had been installed… and he chiseled his signature into the marble statue. To date, it is the only marble work of the artist that bears his signature!
Nowadays, whenever we pass by a piece of public infrastructure being built by government – be it a new school building, or a new steel and concrete suspension bridge, or a small farm-to-market road – there is always a big signage announcing the name of the President, Congressman, Governor, Mayor or barangay captain who worked on the budget allocation for the said project. I, on my part, find myself signing my name on every written composition I make.
Our ego is – indeed – a “curse” of our humanity, something we have to contend with. It keeps raising its hand, in need of recognition. On the other hand, our ego also drives us to create, to excel, to do things in our best and unique way. The thing is to be able to know how to temper this ego… with human realism, and with humility.
We usually try to fix ourselves before a mirror, but we know that even the reflection we see is not quite exactly ourselves. What we are seeing is the reverse of ourselves, because the “right” on the mirror is our “left” in real life and vice versa. We have to check our self-image with what others will tell us. Hence, we usually ask friends to tell us whether we look alright.
Ultimately, authentic praise and exaltation is not self-accorded. It is one that comes from and is validated by others. In fact, the real exaltation we should all be concerned with is that which comes from God who is able to see us just as we are… inside and out. Fr. Domie, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you usually react to a “downgrade” experience? Are you quick to claim your dues? Or can you let things simply pass… and you forego legitimate privileges?
Let me always be content to let You shine.
St. Valentinian, bishop, pray for us.
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