Sunday, September 1, 2013

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

To eat humble pie is to apologize and face humiliation for a serious error. There is not a lot of agreement to the origins of the expression, but the meaning is widely agreed upon.

Biblical wisdom and the Gospel see a profound distinction and connection between humility and humiliation. A person should neither humiliate nor be humiliated. There is simply no value in that nor would it ever be considered honorable.

To live and act humbly, however, is of great value. Humility is being honest about self, embracing the inherent value of every human being, but not based on their status or material worth.

Humility is also greatly condition by how one is perceived by others, and it involves evaluating and distinguishing the gifts and influence that a person has on others. The Gospel recommends that a person should humbly take the lowest place at table so that others who might recognize the person’s gifts and/or influence might move them to a higher place at table. Far better than to evaluate one’s self as having greater gifts and/or influence than perceived by others who then would move you to a lower place at the table.

It is a practical thing: Without humility one is more susceptible to humiliation. But the Gospel goes further: When one lives in a spirit of humility, one is more apt to see the deeper value and worth of another.

Jesus lived such humility. He saw greatness in the poor, sick, and even the sinner. He loved others no matter how humble or simple or seemingly of small value. To him, others were of great worth. He scorned those who put themselves higher and considered others of less worth.

At the table of God’s kingdom, humble pie is never served. Humility, however, secures a very good seat at the table of the Lord.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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