XIX Domingo Ordinario

Imaginan cómo se sentiría oír Jesús le llama una persona de poca fe. Eso dolería mucho. En el evangelio hoy, Jesús le llama a San Pedro “hombre de poca fe.” Pero si lo piensan, San Pedro mostró gran fe en el evangelio. Cuando Pedro vi a Jesús caminando sobre el agua, el grita, “Señor, si eres tú, mándame ir a ti caminando sobre el agua.” Y después, él sale de la barca. Pedro tiene tanta fe en Jesús que deja el barca y pisa sobre el mar furioso. ¿Ustedes podían hacer eso? ¿Tendrían tanta fe para creer que pueden caminar sobre el agua si Cristo lo les dice?

Se parece que San Pedro tuvo gran fe. Él tuvo tanta fe en el poder de Jesús para creer que podría caminar sobre el agua. ¿Por qué dijo el Señor que San Pedro tiene poca fe? Es porque aunque Pedro creyó que Jesús es poderoso, él creyó que la tormenta es más poderosa. Pedro está bien, caminando hacia el Señor, pero entonces él nota a la tormenta. Ve cuán grandes son las olas, cuán fuerte es el viento. Él saca sus ojos de Cristo y en su lugar se centra en la tormenta. Y le entró miedo que la tormenta fuera demasiado fuerte. Pedro tuvo fe en Cristo, tanta fe que él caminó sobre el agua, pero tuvo más fe en el poder de la tormenta. La tormenta se parece tan fuerte que Pedro tiene miedo de ahogarse. Y comenzó a hundirse. Por eso Jesús lo llamó a Pedro un hombre de poca fe, no porque Pedro no tuvo fe en Jesús, pero porque tuvo más fe en la tormenta.

A veces, podemos estar como San Pedro. Asumo que cada persona aquí tiene fe en Jesús. No estarían aquí si no. Confiamos en Jesús. Confiamos que Él nos ama y puede ayudarnos. Pero entonces llega la tormenta. Nos encontramos ante algo que parece tan grande y tan poderoso, y comenzamos a temer que tal vez Dios no es poderoso suficiente para ayudarnos. Creemos en Dios, pero también tememos que la tormenta es más fuerte. Como San Pedro, sacamos nuestros ojos de Cristo y en su lugar nos centramos en la tormenta. Y comenzamos a hundirnos.

Yo sé que he experimentado eso. Este mes pasado ha sido abrumador a veces. Estar en carga de una parroquia por la primera vez es una responsabilidad grande. Hay tanto que aprender, tantas decisiones que tomar, tanto que hacer. Claro, yo sé que Dios es aquí para ayudarme. Pero a veces, yo he sacado mis ojos de Cristo y solamente miré la tormenta. He empezado a temer que la tormenta sea demasiado, que tal vez Cristo no podrá mantenerme a flote. Y cuando lo hago, siento que me estoy hundiendo. Me olvido que Dios es más grande que cualquier tormenta. Y me olvido de que mientras mis ojos estén sobre él, mientras confíe en él y escuche a su voz, puedo caminar sobre el agua.

Todos de nosotros podemos hacer eso de vez en cuando. Una de las problemas es que las tormentas de nuestras vidas parecen tan fuerte, tan ruidosas, tan poderosas, pero Dios parece tan tranquilo y suave. Como en la primera lectura, Dios frecuentemente no se revela en fuego o terremoto, pero en un murmullo de una brisa suave. El mundo es grande y ruidoso, mientras Dios es la voz quieta, pequeña. Y es fácil para nosotros pensar que la tormenta, con su ruido y furia, es más poderosa.

Claro, sabemos que Dios es más poderoso que cualquier tormenta en nuestras vidas. Pero necesitamos mantener nuestros ojos fijos en Cristo. No importa cuán ruidosa y amenazante sea la tormenta, debemos seguir escuchando a la voz tranquila de Dios. Es allí que encontraremos la paz en el medio de las tormentas del mundo. En Jesús encontraremos la gracia para caminar sobre las olas de la vida. Como recibimos a Cristo en esta Sagrada Eucaristía, que Él fortalezca nuestra fe en Sí mismo, para que siempre podamos saber que Él es más fuerte que cualquier tormenta.

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Imagine what it would feel like to hear Jesus call you “O you of little faith.” That would have to sting. That is what Jesus calls Peter in the Gospel today. “O you of little faith.” But in some sense, Peter shows great faith in the Gospel. When he sees Jesus walking on the water, he calls out, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And then, even more, he actually gets out of the boat. Peter has so much faith in Jesus that he actually steps out of the boat onto the raging sea. Could you do that? Would you have enough faith to believe that you could literally walk on water if Christ told you to?

It looks like Peter has great faith. Peter has enough faith in the power of Jesus to believe that Jesus can call Him to walk on water. So why does Jesus say that Peter has little faith? Because while Peter believes that Jesus is powerful, he believes that the storm is more powerful. He is doing fine, walking towards Our Lord, but then he notices the storm. He sees how big the waves are, how strong the wind is. Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus and instead focuses on the storm. And he becomes afraid that the storm is too strong. Peter has faith in Christ, so much faith that he walks on water, but he has more faith in the storm. The storm seems so powerful that he fears it will overpower him. And he begins sinking. And that is why Jesus calls Peter “you of little faith,” not because Peter doesn’t have faith in Jesus, but because Peter has more faith in the storm.

We can be like Peter. I am going to presume that everyone here has faith in Jesus. You probably wouldn’t be here otherwise. We trust Jesus. We trust that He loves us and can help us. But then the storm comes. We find ourselves dealing with something that seems so big and so powerful, and we begin to fear that maybe God isn’t powerful enough to help us. We believe in God, but we also fear that the storm is more powerful. Like Peter, we take our eyes off of Jesus and instead we focus on the storm. And we start sinking.

I know I have experienced that. This past month for me has been overwhelming at times. Being in charge of a parish for the first time is a huge responsibility. There is so much to learn, so many decisions to make, so much to do. Now, I know that God is there. But sometimes in the past month, I have taken my eyes off of God and just looked at the storm. I’ve started to be afraid that the storm may be too much, that maybe Christ won’t be able to keep me afloat. And when I do that, I start feeling like I’m sinking. I forget that God is more powerful than any storm I face. I forget that as long as my eyes are on Him, as long as I trust Him and listen to His voice, I can walk on water.

All of us can fall victim to this way of thinking. One of the problems is that the storms seem so strong and loud and powerful, but God seems so small and quiet. Like we hear in our first reading, often God does not reveal Himself in fire and earthquake, but in a tiny whispering sound. The world is big and loud, while God is the still, small voice. And so it is easy to think that the storm, with its noise and fury, is more powerful.

Of course, we know that God is more powerful than any storm we face in life. But we have to keep our eyes on Him. No matter how loud and threatening the storm seems, we should continually listen for God’s still small voice. It is there that we will find peace in the midst of life’s storms. In Jesus we will find the grace to walk on the waves of life. As we receive Christ in this Holy Eucharist, may He strengthen our faith in Him, so that we may always know that He is stronger than any storm we face.

Transfiguration of the Lord

How would you convince someone to believe the impossible? That is the question that the Apostles faced. They were supposed to go out into the world to tell people that God had become man, died, and rose from the dead. But anyone who heard that message would likely be skeptical. God became man? The dead coming back to life? These things are impossible. Who in their right mind would believe such a thing?

The Apostles knew that the message they proclaimed was unbelievable. But they also knew that it was true. They had seen it. They weren’t proclaiming just some story they had heard, but something they had actually experienced. And so that is how they supported their message – with their personal testimony. We see that in our second reading today. St. Peter says, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.” “We did not follow cleverly devised myths,” he said. These are not myths and fairy tales that we preach. These aren’t stories of something that happened once upon a time. Jesus is a real person, who really existed, in a real place, at a real time. And St. Peter knows that this is a real story because, as he goes on to say, “we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Now, if you were one of the Apostles, and if you were going to tell people how you had seen the majesty of Christ, what event would you talk about? I know for me, I would probably say the Resurrection. But in the second reading from the second letter of St. Peter, he doesn’t talk about how he was a witness to the Resurrection, but rather the Transfiguration. As we hear in the Gospel today, shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus took three of His disciples up the mountain, and there revealed His glory in the presence of Moses and Elijah, while the voice of the Father proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” That is the event that Peter retells in his second letter. This event must have had a profound impact on St. Peter if, years later, it is the one that he singles out.

So what is so special about the Transfiguration? There is a lot that could be talked about. But I think one of the most important things about the Transfiguration is when it happened. The Gospels tell us that the Transfiguration happened shortly after the first time that Jesus told His disciples about His coming Passion. That is the time when Peter tried to tell Him that no such thing would happen, and Jesus tells Peter, “Get behind me, Satan.” About a week later is when the Transfiguration happened. At this point, I would imagine that the Apostles are still a bit shaken by what Christ told them about His death. So He takes three of them, Peter, James, and John, and reveals His glory to them. It is as though He was showing them by their actions that they need not be shaken by the knowledge that He will suffer and die, because He is the God of life. He is the Beloved Son of the Father. He is the one whom Daniel talks about in the first reading who everlasting dominion. No matter what happens, no matter what the Disciples would later see during His suffering and death, they were to remember this moment on the mountain where they saw His glory.

The Transfiguration was Christ’s way of strengthening the three Apostles so that they could keep faith in Him even through the difficult times. Because St. Peter mentions it years later in his second letter, it is clear that he spent much time reflecting on this great event. Through his many years of ministry, through the many trials and tribulations he had experienced, the memory of Christ’s glory revealed in the Transfiguration strengthened and sustained him. The memory of this event that he himself had experienced gave his preaching credibility and conviction that caused so many people who heard him to believe his message, even though that message seemed impossible.

Now, that’s all well and good for St. Peter, but what about us? We didn’t experience the Transfiguration. That may be true, but I would imagine that all of us have had our mountaintop moments in following Christ. We’ve had those moments in our lives when the veil is parted and we catch a glimpse of God’s glory. What that moment is will be different for each one of us, but we have all had our transfiguration moment. They don’t necessarily last long. The Transfiguration as the Gospels describe it does not sound like a long experience. And they didn’t get to stay there. Peter wanted to stay there; to set up tents and just live up on the mountain. But that’s not how it works. The Transfiguration is not a permanent state, but a brief glimpse that is meant to strengthen us when we go back down the mountain and return to our normal life.

Unfortunately, sometimes we have our transfiguration moments, but we let them slip away. Then, when the hard times come, we feel that God has abandoned us and wonder why He doesn’t do anything. We forget that we have already experienced His glory, that He has already given us a reason to trust Him even in the midst of the trials and struggles that we face. We are supposed to reflect upon those times that God has revealed to us His glory. We should treasure them in our hearts, returning to them frequently, seeing more and more how God has revealed Himself to us. That was the lesson of the Transfiguration for Peter, James and John, and that is the lesson of our own personal transfiguration moments.

I invite you today, spend a few minutes in prayer with God reflecting on those times that He has revealed His glory to you. As you do so, it will strengthen your faith. It will also strengthen your ability, like the Apostles, to tell others about Christ, because you won’t just be telling them stories you have heard, but your own experience of how He has worked in your life.

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we look around the world, we see so many people getting away with doing evil things. It is easy to wonder why God allows it. Why doesn’t God just destroy the wicked? Why are they allowed to get away with their sins?

Our Lord addresses this in today’s Gospel. He uses the parable of a man who plants wheat in his field. His enemy comes and sows tares in among the wheat. This, He says, is a parable of God working in the world. The Lord does not create evil in the world, just as the man in the parable did not sow weeds, but only the wheat. God is not the source of evil. We can’t blame God for the evil in the world, just like the man in the parable was not to blame for the weeds. In the parable, when the man’s servants point out to him that there are weeds among the wheat and offer to pull them, however, his response is interesting. He tells them not to pull the weeds for fear that, in doing so, they may accidentally damage the wheat. Rather, the man lets them grow together until harvest time.

It is easy to see how this works in the parable, how pulling the tares could accidentally uproot the wheat as well. Anyone who weeds a garden knows that they have to be careful when pulling the weeds that they not damage the good plants. But what does this have to do with good and evil? How would removing evil people damage the good? First, because it is in the way that we deal with people who do evil that we are able to grow in virtue. The only way to grow in patience is to have to endure situations, and people, who require us to be patient. The only way to grow in loving those who are difficult to love is for there to be people who are difficult to love. We are better able to grow in virtue and holiness because of people who are lacking in virtue and holiness.

The Lord also does not simply destroy the wicked, because His greatest desire is not vengeance but conversion. Unlike the weeds in the parable, which cannot change to become wheat, people who do evil can change. In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear how the Lord desires to show mercy to all people. It states that the Lord’s “mastery over all things makes [Him] lenient to all.” Many of us think that, if we were all-powerful, we would use that power to destroy the wicked. For the Lord, the fact that He is all-powerful rather makes Him lenient, compassionate and sympathetic towards our weaknesses. I think we can often think that God wants to punish sinners. But Scripture tells us that God doesn’t want to punish sinners but rather to show them mercy so that they might repent. Were God to always and immediately uproot the wicked, there would be no possibility of repentance. The Lord offers all people the possibility of conversion, but that conversion takes time.

Another reason that the Lord does not just destroy the wicked is because, were He to do so, He would be in some way destroying the gift of free will. One of the greatest things that God has given to us is free will. We need free will in order to love, because if love is not free, it is not really love. If we did not have free will, our good acts would not really count for anything. Because we are free, because we can choose to do good or not, our choosing to do good is meritorious. But freedom also requires the ability to choose to not do good. If God always just destroyed the wicked, it would make our decisions less free. We would choose to do good, not because it was good, but simply to avoid being destroyed. A choice made under force, or fear, is not truly a free choice. God allows the good and evil to continue in order to allow us to be truly free. Hopefully, we use the freedom to do good. But, freedom also means that we can use it to do evil.

Finally, we should be thankful that God does not destroy the wicked. It is easy to think of the wicked as being people out there. But all of us have done evil. We admitted as much at the start of Mass, when we said “I confess that I have greatly sinned.” We have all done evil. And, if God started destroying the wicked, where should the line be drawn? Who gets destroyed, and who gets spared? If God were to destroy the wicked, would we be spared? We should be thankful that God doesn’t destroy the wicked, because we are sometimes among their number, and I think we would all prefer the Lord show us mercy.

Because there is evil in the world, there is work for us to do. Sometimes the evil in the world can seem overwhelming. But, as the Lord goes on to say in the Gospel, a little wheat can leaven a large batch of dough. We are called to be that leaven in the world, spreading the grace and the love of God. We are called to plant the mustard seed of goodness which will grow larger and larger. The fact that there is evil in the world means that we have a job to do. Rather than be overwhelmed by the evil in the world, we are called to be a force for good. As we receive Our Lord Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, let us take that grace out into the world to be the leaven which builds the Kingdom of God.

XV Domingo Ordinario

En el año mil novecientos ochenta y siete, el jefe de American Airlines mandó qye la compañía quitar una aceituna de cada ensalada que sirven en los aviones. Se parece como un cambio pequeño, pero ese cambio le ahorró a la compañía decenas de miles de dólares. Las empresas se esfuerzan por minimizar las pérdidas. Ellas están constantemente tratando de disminuir las expensas para aumentar a los beneficios. Hay empresas enteras cuyo trabajo es ser consultores, diciendo a otras empresas cómo reducir sus pérdidas. A la mayoría de nosotros, este comportamiento es muy racional. Y, como una práctica de negocios, ciertamente tiene sentido. Dichosamente, Dios trabaja de una manera diferente.

Hoy escuchamos la parábola del sembrador. Estamos tan familiarizados con esta parábola que probablemente no estamos tan sorprendidos por la imagen como deberíamos ser. En la parábola, Dios se asemeja a un sembrador. Pero en vez de estar cuidadoso con la semilla, Él simplemente siembra de una manera despreocupada. Algunos caen en el camino, otros en las rocas y otros entre los espinos. El sembrador es derrochador con las semillas. Ninguno de nosotros plantaría un jardín simplemente lanzando semillas por todas partes. Cualquier sembrador inteligente sabría qué tal comportamiento es costoso y derrochador. Es una mala decisión de negocios y una pérdida de tiempo y recursos. Podía cortar sus pérdidas por estar más cuidadoso acerca de donde dispersa la semilla. Pero él parece inconsciente de esto.

El sembrador es una imagen de cómo Dios concede Su gracia sobre nosotros. Dios es tan generoso con Su gracia, consistentemente otorgándolo a lo bueno y lo malo. Parece completamente despreocupado por la probabilidad de que Su gracia dé fruto. Simplemente derrama Su gracia en todos, esperando que crezca. Dios es pródigo con Su gracia. Yo sé que en mi vida, hay muchas veces donde Dios ha derramado Su gracia, pero he sido como el suelo seco y rocoso, cubierto de espinas y malezas. Pero Dios continúa dando su gracia abundante. Si Dios fuera como nosotros, Él cortaría Sus pérdidas. Él sería más conservador con Su gracia, sólo otorgándolo donde Él estaba seguro de que daría fruto. Pero Dios no trabaja así, y es bueno. Porque si Dios quisiera cortar Sus pérdidas, ¿cuántos de nosotros nos encontraríamos entre los cortados?

Aquí en esta Misa, Dios nos da Su gracia en abundancia. Como el sembrador en la parábola, Dios es pródigo con Su gracia. La pregunta es: ¿qué tipo de tierra seré? Al oír la Palabra de Dios proclamada en las Escrituras, ¿la arraigará en nuestros corazones y dará fruto, o la caerá en tierra rocosa? Al recibir a Cristo en la Eucaristía, ¿lo haremos con amor y devoción, o seremos inafectados por lo que estamos haciendo? Aquí en la Misa, la gracia de Dios se está dado a cada uno de nosotros sin límite. La gracia de esta Misa literalmente tiene el potencial de cambiar nuestras vidas. O podemos ser el suelo rocoso y espinoso, y la gracia de Dios será derrochada. De cualquier manera, Dios nos está dando Su gracia. La única pregunta es qué haremos con ella.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the 1980’s, the head of American Airlines had the company remove one olive from every salad that they serve on the planes. It may seem like a small change, but that little change saved the company tens of thousands of dollars. Businesses spend a lot of energy trying to find ways to minimize losses. Whether it is cutting costs or time, they are constantly looking for ways to decrease expenses in order to increase profits. There are entire businesses whose job is to come in as consultants, telling other businesses how to cut their losses. Most of us see this behavior as common sense business practice. And, as a business practice, it certainly makes sense. Thankfully, God works in a different way.

Today we hear the parable of the sower. We are so familiar with it, that we are probably not as shocked by the image as we should be. In the parable, God is likened to a sower. However, instead of being careful with where he sows the seed, He simply throws it around in a carefree manner. Some lands on the path, some on rocks, and some among thorns. The sower is practically wasteful with the seed. None of us would plant a garden by walking out into the backyard and just throwing seed everywhere. Any intelligent sower would know that such wasteful behavior is costly. It is a poor business decision and a waste of time and resources. He could cut his losses by being more careful with where he scatters the seed. But he seems oblivious to this common sense criticism of his practices.

In the sower we see an image of how God bestows His grace upon us. God is so generous with His grace, consistently bestowing it upon the good and the bad. He seems completely unconcerned about the likelihood of His grace bearing fruit. He simply pours forth His grace on all, hoping that it will grow. God is lavish with His grace. I know if I look at my life, I can find countless times where God has poured forth His grace, but I have been like the dry, rocky soil, overgrown with thorns and weeds. If God were like us, He would cut His losses. He would be more conservative with His grace, only bestowing it where He was certain that it would bear fruit. But that is not how God works, and it is a good thing. Because if God wanted to cut His losses, how many of us would find ourselves among those whom He cuts?

This is how God deals with us; it is how He calls us to deal with others. While minimizing losses may be good business, we often use it as a practice in our relationships. How many of us have that relative who we haven’t talked to in years because we don’t want to waste the effort, that former friend with whom we fell out and whom we would talk to but we don’t think it will accomplish anything? We often try to cut our losses when it comes to other people, and in so doing we reduce other people to an object and we put a price on them. We decide that they are worth a certain amount of time, a certain amount of energy, and after that we cut our losses and move on. As Christians, we are called to mirror God’s relationship with us. Just as God doesn’t give up on us, no matter how many times we refuse to bear fruit, so He calls us to not give up on others. Now, let me add this caveat: there are those relationships which are abusive, manipulative, or dangerous, and I am not saying that anyone should stay in such a relationship because of some misplaced feeling of love or devotion. There are people who we need to distance ourselves from. But even then, we should not completely cut them out entirely; at the least, we can pray for them. However, most of our relationships are not like this. Most of the people who we cut out of our lives are simply people who we decide are not worth our efforts. In the Gospel, God shows us another way.

It is true that, in some cases, our efforts may not bear fruit, just as, sometimes, God’s grace does not bear fruit in our lives. But just as God continues to bestow His grace, hoping to find that fertile ground, so we never know when our relationship with someone who we thought not worth our efforts will bear fruit.

Here in this Mass, God gives us His grace in abundance. Like the sower in the parable, God is lavish with His grace. The question is, what kind of soil will I be? As we hear God’s Word proclaimed in the Scriptures, will it take root in our hearts and bear fruit, or will it fall on rocky ground? As we receive Christ in this Eucharist, will we do so with love and devotion, or will we just go through the motions? Here at Mass, God’s grace is being given to each one of us without limit. The grace of this Mass literally has the potential to change our lives. Or we can be the rocky, thorny soil, and God’s grace will be wasted. Either way, God is giving us His grace. The only question is what we will do with it.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sometimes in life, what you expect and what you get are not always the same thing. We see some of that in the first reading. In our first reading, we have a prophecy from the prophet Zechariah about the Messiah. Zechariah calls the Messiah a king whom he also calls a just savior. He says that this king who is to come shall banish war and establish peace with a worldwide dominion. This would have been in line with what the people expected of the Messiah. The people expected a Messiah who would be a powerful king and warrior, who would lead the nation of Israel to victory in battle over her enemies.

And yet, the prophet Zechariah also insists that this powerful figure shall be meek. He calls him, “meek, and riding on an ass.” Normally, when we think of a conqueror, we picture them riding a majestic warhorse. Horses are powerful, agile, and obedient, and that is why they have been used throughout history in war. Donkeys, on the other hand, are none of those things. No one would ride a donkey into battle. And donkeys are notoriously stubborn, so just riding one can be an irritating experience. To ride one takes a great deal of patience and humility. That is why Zechariah uses riding a donkey as a sign of meekness. This is not the Messiah that people were expecting.

Zechariah seems to present contrary descriptions of the Messiah. How can he be both a powerful king who will expand his kingdom to cover the whole world, and also be a model of meekness and humility? These things seem opposed to each other. And yet in Christ, we see this prophecy perfectly fulfilled. We see that the kingdom that Christ came to establish was not an earthly kingdom, and it is not spread by armies and power. It is a kingdom of love, and its weapon is meekness.

Of course, on Palm Sunday, Our Lord indicated that He was the fulfillment of this prophecy by literally riding a donkey into Jerusalem. But His whole life was really a fulfillment of it. In the Gospel today, He refers to Himself as meek and humble of heart. In the Beatitudes, Christ taught “Blessed are the meek.” Even as He was on trial, and while He was being mocked, beaten, and crucified, He was a perfect example of meekness. And in His meekness, Christ provides a model for us to follow.

For many people, meekness is not seen as a goal. We think that the way to get ahead in life is to be forceful, to make sure our voice is heard and people do what we say. We not only want to be the best, but we want everyone to know we’re the best. Pride, not meekness, is what guides the lives of many people in our world.

As followers of Christ, however, we are called to imitate His meekness and humility. Some people think that being humble means walking around saying that I’m no good. But that isn’t true humility. In fact, it can be a form of pride. Rather, as St. Vincent de Paul said, “Humility is nothing but truth.” By pride I seek to make myself more important than I am. Pride says that everyone and everything should bend to my will. Pride says that everything should revolve around me. Humility, on the other hand, accepts the truth that all people have the same dignity and value that I have. Humility acknowledges the truth that I am not the center of the universe and that I am not perfect. In the Gospel today, Jesus says that the Father has “hidden these things from the wise and the learned [and] you have revealed them to little ones.” The little ones, that is, the humble, can have the truth revealed to them, because they live in the truth. Meanwhile, those whose pride is inflated by their own wisdom and understanding lack the humility to understand the truth that God has revealed.

In big ways and in small ways, pride can creep into our lives. When I’m eating, do I insist on always having the best portion of food, or do I give it to someone else? When I am driving, do I get angry when people get in my way or don’t do what I want? When I am talking with other people, do I make the conversation all about me? Do I always have to be the winner, to come out on top? These are all examples of pride insisting that I am the most important person. We can all suffer from pride. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “pride is a perpetual temptation, but don’t be too worried about it. As long as one knows one is proud one is safe from the worst form of pride.” To acknowledge that we sometimes give in to pride is the first step towards humility. To say that we are never proud is the worst form of pride.

In our second reading today, St. Paul contrasts those who live according to the flesh with those who live according to the Spirit. Pride is a part of living according to the flesh, while meekness and humility are part of living according to the Spirit. If we want to grow in meekness, we cannot do it of our own power. We need the grace of the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can imitate the meekness of Christ. Here in this Eucharist, we have a profound example of the humility and meekness of Christ. He comes to us, not surrounded in glory and majesty, but small and inconspicuous, under the appearance of bread and wine. What profound humility that God would lower Himself so much in order to give Himself completely to sinners like us! If we want to grow in meekness, we should contemplate Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. We have no greater example of humility. As we receive Jesus Himself, let us ask Him to fill us with His Spirit, so that we can follow His example of meekness.