Humility & Thanksgiving

God’s almighty power is not shown chiefly in terrifying displays (like the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah, wiping out the Egyptian army, or the flood). God’s almighty power is shown chiefly in mercy and pity — when He raises the dead, feeds the hungry, heals the sick, or forgives the sinner.

Our pride gets in the way of God’s almighty mercy. Example: when we refuse to go to private confession because we think we’ve done nothing wrong, or because we don’t think we need the priest to forgive us, or because we are afraid of what the priest will think — these are all reasons rooted in pride. And this pride stands in the way of God proclaim his mercy in a way that sinks below what we confess to soothe our soul and calm our spirit.

The Pharisee’s pride rebuffed God’s mercy. But the publican’s humility opened the way for God’s mercy to work powerfully to raise him up.

I think that was moved the publican to enter the temple was gratitude. Giving thanks for what God can do, what He gives, what He promises, the mercy He bestows — that is the first act of humility. For to say “thank you” is to acknowledge that we are dependent; that we cannot make it on our own; that we need someone else.

The thanksgiving that we give during the Eucharist is humbling, and opens us up to be receptive to God’s almighty power, which is shown chiefly in mercy and pity. And it leads us to begin humbling ourselves before others, at least (at first) by saying “thank you.”

(A synopsis of today’s homily)