October 30, 2017

Reflection for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: "Whoever Exalts Himself Will be Humbled."


Two things stand out in this Sunday’s Gospel account from Matthew. First, Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Second, God’s ways are not the ways of the world. These themes are echoed throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, by patriarchs and prophets, and finally, by the Messiah Himself.

Jesus states, "The greatest among you must be your servant" (Matthew 23:11).

In our fallen world, the humble and the lowly magnify God’s love. The mighty and the self-righteous enrich only themselves. We must love others selflessly, not use people and love things out of greed and selfishness (as is often the case today).

Jesus continues, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (v. 12). To be disciples of Christ, we must follow the Savior’s example. This means emptying ourselves out completely and loving unconditionally, not agreeing with others or confirming them should they sin.

On the verge of his Passion and Death, Jesus exhibits radical humility in washing the feet of his Apostles. In so doing, He firmly rebuffs Peter’s chastisement.

Earlier, Jesus says that the Kingdom of God, "is at hand" (Matthew 4:17, 10:7).

The focus in these verses is eschatological (concerning the end of time). When Christ triumphantly returns in glory, all things will be fulfilled according to Divine Providence, "Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last" (Matthew 20:16). Salvation history will cease and the saints will behold God face to face.

We need not wait for Christ’s Second Coming to live in the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is any place where God is sovereign. We are part of that Kingdom if we make God King of our hearts, minds and lives.

Inspired by this divine truth, let us pray the words that Jesus taught us with joy and renewed conviction, "Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…"

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