November 4, 2017
Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop
The Gospel Today
Luke 14:1, 7-11
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Reflection (Sem. Alfredo O. Dimaano Jr.)
A test of humility is when one is given a position of authority. If power gets in the head, leadership will be in vain for one might be operating not for the glory of God, but for one’s esteem. The Pharisees were taught by Jesus a lesson: the one who exalts himself will be humbled. One who is humble knows his place and acknowledges his rightful place before the Lord; to the one greater than him. Respect and honor must come from others and is earned– not self-imposed.
As a seminarian following the ways of Jesus, being configured to Him requires an awareness that I am called not because of my credentials, my abilities, or my qualities. They will all fall short when compared to how our Lord lived as an example of one who became poor, humbling Himself to the point of being crucified.
Today, the whole Church commemorates St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminarians. When he was elected bishop, he chose for his episcopal motto, “Humilitas”, or humility. Though the Pope then was his uncle, he never used his association to him in his task as a shepherd. Rather, he showed humility and implemented reforms that would make sure that priesthood should be a life of humble service, not one of prestige, honor, and careerism.
Let us ask for the intercession of St. Charles Borromeo to have a heart that does not seek honor and power, but one that is patterned after Jesus’: a heart that is meek and humble.