Homily for Saturday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time
As many of you know, over the last few days I was on my annual retreat at San Pedro Center in Winter Park. Every time I get the opportunity to step away from things and spend a little time with the Lord, it always brings me to a place where I can simply reflect on how the Lord has been working in my life. And this retreat was no different. It gave me the opportunity to look back over the last three months since ordination and to see where the Lord has been…but it also reminded me of the areas of my own life where I need to grow still, the areas of my life where I still need to allow the Lord’s grace to work.
This is kind of what we hear about in our first reading today from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. I think the message that Paul is trying to communicate is the importance of humility. And by humility, I don’t mean looking at ourselves in a negative light…that’s not humility. Instead, I mean the true understanding of humility. At the essence of humility is this…do we know ourselves?
Paul knew exactly who he was. He knew his shortcomings, he knew what areas of his life that he needed to work on the most. In other parts of Scripture, Paul talks about how it’s difficult to overcome the sins of the flesh, how he does things that he doesn’t want to do (cf. Romans 7:15). But Paul also knew that the only way that he would ever overcome those struggles and those challenges was with the help of God’s grace.
The same is true for us. I think all of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, we have a pretty good idea of who we are. We know what makes us tick; we know the areas of our lives that we need to work on; we know what temptations we tend to get caught up in. But the question we have to ask ourselves is do we respond to those temptations like Paul did? Do we truly rely on the Lord’s grace to help us overcome those things or do we try to overcome them ourselves? Because, let’s be honest, whenever we try to do things without the Lord’s help, we usually end up failing.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the chance to go on retreat to figure that out. But, we can pray more often, devoting time each day in silence with the Lord. We can do an examination of conscience every night before bed. We can ask the Lord for graces at Mass. We can take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Lord has given us all these things to help us grow in true humility…in knowing who we are and where we need Him. Today, as we come forward for the Eucharist, let’s all ask Him for that grace.