On this Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the readings are full of images and messages of humility. We begin first with the Prophet, Zechariah. He foresees and foretells the coming of a savior…meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. This prophecy of course speaks of Christ.
Christ is the embodiemnt of meekness and humility. He gave up His place with the Father in heaven to take on our humanity…a great act of humility in and of itself! He came in human flesh to reveal the divinity of God. His preaching (with a new authority) applied the wisdom of God to our human needs.
And when He entered Jerusalem for His greatest “teaching”, He came riding on a humble beast of burden. He did not ride a war horse, or the other trappings of worldly “strength” such as chariot, sword and spear. He came simply in His Divinity, hidden in our humanity, to reveal “to the little ones” the power of God at work in His suffering, death, and resurrection.
St. Paul in the Letter to the Romans (8:9, 11-13) encourages us today to live by the same “Spirit of God” who dwells in us. He reminds us we are not in the flesh: on the contrary, you are in the spirit. Obviously, we are flesh and blood, subject through this life to the many demands and desires of the flesh. But St. Paul reminds us that there is far more to this life than the simple requirements of the body; shelter, food, drink, rest, sexual expression, etc. namely, the life of the Spirit. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
We certainly honor this “temple of the Lord”, this human body which God Himself created. But, we are called to recognize that this body has already “died to Christ” in Baptism. Thus, the honorable and required life of the Christian is to go beyond the mere physical demands of life, and live according to the Spirit. This is to live for the Kindom of Heaven, according to the fruits of the Spirit. (see Galatians 5:22-25)
If we fail to acknowledge God, and His Son, and the Holy Spirit, (to live humbly before God) then we are left to our own wisdom and ways, which will always fall short because of our mortality and inclination to sin. Part of the challenge in this country and culture today is that too many laws and decisions are made according to mere human wisdom. There is a failure to recognize a higher power and authority than our own.
There is clearly a role for human reason, but it needs the balance and temperance (and completion) of faith. The Gospel today calls us to be those “little ones” who discover the Wisdom of God incarnate in the person of Jesus. St. Paul calls us today to allow the Spirit of God to help us read and live the law of God written on our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 36:25-27) Thus will we share in true Wisdom.
This is our calling today. But we must also be realistic about living as such faithful witnesses to Christ. Just as He was rejected by the “wise and learned” of His time, so too shall we be if we faithfully live and proclaim His Gospel. However, fear of rejection should not and cannot silence our voice and witness.
This calls us not only to live beyond the demands of the flesh, but beyond mere human wisdom as well. Let us pray that more of God’s people will discover Christ and the truth of His Gospel. Let us pray that we may always live in the hope and faith that are ours in Christ. Let us pray, that by our witness, more and more may come to live in the truth and love and freedom that are found only in Christ.