Thursday, 17 August 2017

10th Sunday after Pentecost 13 Aug 2017 Sermon

10th Sunday after Pentecost 13.8.17 Pride

Many people, in these times, suffer from a lack of self-esteem, a sense of their own worth.

Many even commit suicide, thinking that nobody cares for them one way or the other.

We are supposed to feel good about ourselves. Even better still we are supposed to be good; and that is the surest way to feel good.

Being good, and feeling good, come as we learn how God regards us; when we see ourselves as created by God, loved by Him, and valuable to Him. If we are valuable to God we must be somebody, and so we are.

This is ‘good’ pride, when all we are and have is bound up with God. In due proportion we can take pride in our work, our houses, our appearance, our community etc. This is all fine as long as these things do not become false gods.

We are planets to God’s sun. He is the centre, and we revolve around Him. He is the reference point at all times.

Constant prayer and practice will be necessary to enable us to keep this perspective; to end any rebellion within us, and at the same time enhance our sense of worth.

We find ourselves happy to be created beings. We might bristle at first, wanting to assert independence; but we come to appreciate God's goodness, and are happy to be subservient to Him.

We are happy once we have trimmed the excesses of minds and hearts; pulled heads in, as regards our self-importance; simply accepting what we are; just happy to be any part of God's family.

Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvellous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul.
Ps 130 (131), 1-2

Not everyone accepts the status of created being. Especially not the devil. The source of his sin was pride. He thought himself better than God, or at least more important. He wanted to be god himself; so he created his own empire.

This has been the problem ever since. All sin springs from pride, the wrong sort of pride.

Wrong pride is when we exclude God from the picture, and set up in business for ourselves; as though to say: I am the most important person around here.

This leads to lots of sin, and disorder. The world is so much infected with sin that we can take things as normal which are very much abnormal.

A world where most people lie, and get angry, have impure desires, carry grudges, cheat in business, and put themselves first – this is how it is, but is not how it is meant to be.

It is meant to be as it is in Heaven, where everyone is lost in awe of God, and obeying freely - Our Lady being the supreme example.

She can help us in this direction.

Pride can get at us even when we are doing the right thing. The Pharisee (Gospel) was too pleased with himself, thinking his goodness was the result of his own efforts.

Even if we do something virtuous, it is only by the grace of God.

The sins are our fault; the good we do is from Him.

Sins happen when we assert ourselves against God. Repentance is when we get back into right alignment with Him.

The publican got all this in his brief prayer: Lord, be merciful to me a sinner (Lk 18,13) .
On every point we have to be right with God – in thought, word, deed, ambition, desires, self- understanding, fitting in with others, taking our place in God’s overall plan.

All this follows from a true understanding of how things are set up – which comes with humility.

May the Lord keep us – or make us – humble, enabling us to appreciate our true worth in his sight.

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