Lent V: In humility is great power

Travel is my excuse for being late with posting notes from last Sunday.  At least in the LCC lectionary, the readings last for a week, so it is still current!

This week brings us to a consideration of humility – a theme well positioned as we are between the Annunciation (last week, March 25) when the angel announces the Incarnation, the fullness of divinity humbled in frail human flesh, and the beginning of Holy Week (next Sunday), when the Incarnate One submits to betrayal, suffering, and death.  Do our lives show forth the presence and activity of such a Creator, who humbles himself in love and service before his creatures?

Today’s gospel, the parable of the publican and the Pharisee, shows us humility and pride at work in our religious life.  Can we be who we are, without comparison or guile, in God’s presence?  Or do we prefer to veil ourselves in manufactured identities, titles, outfits, affiliations, degrees, certifications, and comparisons to others?  Humility is about honesty, and a willingness to put aside our personality, our preferences, our pet ideas.  Father Paul Blighton remarked that in humility is great power, for when we get our little selves out of the way, then God can act. No longer impeded by our notions of how things should be, the New Life can flow freely, carving out surprising new paths.  This is the renewing of the mind that we read about in the epistle, a renewal that enables us to prove in our lives what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

As the humble Christ comes to feed us in bread and wine today, may we open ourselves to him, in all the wild strangeness of his ways, that he may feed others through us.

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