Humility frees us from burden

By Pat wettstein | For The Compass | July 7, 2017

The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.

Do not revel in your haughtiness; that is what Jesus is telling us in the Gospel this week. The Old Testament reading cites that the king shall come to us riding on an ass, a symbolic phrase meaning he is coming in humility, not like the warrior kings that proclaim supreme authority through violence and war. And then Paul tells the Romans that we are not to be ‘debtors to the flesh’, in other words do not set your sights on the things of the world, your earthly possessions. Wow, that puts us in our place, doesn’t it?

But what does it all mean? Well, let’s think about this. Do we have the showiest car that stands out in the church parking lot? Do we dress so over the top for Mass that people could be off, thinking that we believe we’re too good for them? Or how about our expressions when greeting people; could they perceive haughtiness? That is a lot to consider and should make us face a bit of self-reflection about our attitudes and behaviors.

How do I do that? Well, Paul gives us a little insight when he warns the Romans that we “are not in the flesh,” but “in the spirit.”

In other words, if we truly put on Christ, we would acquire the humility that Jesus modeled in his life.

In the Gospel, Jesus implies that the little ones are the perfect model of humility. Have you ever looked around at the small children while you are in church. Oh sure, some children fidget a bit and some cry, but in all of their behavior there is an innocence. They are not putting on airs, they don’t place judgments on anyone.

This innocence of children is what Jesus is trying to convey — the ability to “be yourself,” to coin a phrase.

Have you ever noticed how a child seeks comfort when distressed? They reach out to that loved one who can help to ease their fears and remedy their anxiety. The last paragraph of the Gospel says it best, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I have learned through the years that when some people display haughtiness or have to prove themselves through bigger cars and fancier apparel, they live in a world of self-doubt. What better way to cut though that wall that separates us from others than to model the innocence of children and reach out to God who will take that yoke that stifles our very existence and free us. Humility does that; it frees us from the burdens of having to boast or impress.

May today be the day that you can unburden yourself and let the Spirit of God take away that yoke.

Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.

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