Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(Titus 2:1-8.11-14; Luke 17:7-10)

The beloved Latin teacher had a brusque way of addressing his students.  He called them “pinheads.”  He did not intend to be mean or insulting.  He probably only wanted his charges to retain some humility as they grew into adulthood.  In any case, his students did not resent the teacher’s rudeness.  They appreciated his dedication to his profession.  Both readings today call for a similar curtailing of how people think of themselves.

The first reading admonishes young men “to control themselves.”  This counsel applies to different aspects of life including the way people estimate their abilities. Most tend to exaggerate their them to the extent that they fail to see the virtues of everyone else.  In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples to think of themselves as “unprofitable servants” – a sure way to avoid pride in our utilitarian society.

Humility recognizes that all our goodness has God as its source.  It moves us to thank God for His beneficence toward us.  Humility also recognizes that others have abilities that we don’t have.  It then prompts us to acknowledge them as God’s handiwork worthy of esteem.