A Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

August 28, 2022

Lectionary 126:

Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

Ps 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11

Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a

Luke 14:1, 7-14



Possible preaching themes:

  • The dynamics of an honor/shame culture (1st reading and Gospel)
  • The challenge and gift of humility (1st reading and Gospel)
  • The power of meals (Gospel)


Scientific resources:

  • Honor/shame cultures


  • Humility



Homily outline on humility


  • Humble and American?


  • Humility is not about humiliation
    • Though the words come from same Latin root meaning “lowly” (humilis), they are not the same 
    • Humiliation involves being exposed about a private matter leading to derision and/or distress
      • Recall Olympic athletes reporting being robbed at gun point in Rio during the 2016 summer Olympics
      • Eventually media flooded with the true story: they engaged in indecent and vandalizing behavior 
      • In the aftermath, the most famous of these characters lost major endorsements valued between 5 to 10 million dollars in future income
      • No well-balanced person wants to be humiliated
    • Humility is different
      • “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” 
    • Researchers find humility has two main characteristics
      • Intrapersonally it involves an accurate view of the self
      • Interpersonally it involves a stance that is “other” rather than “self” focused


  • Humility is good for us and good for business
    • While not a national instinct, a humble stance has much to recommend it
    • The main benefit concerns social bonds
      • A humble stance appears to strengthen social bonds
      • Especially in relationships that may experience conflict
      • Or where difference threatens the security of a relationship
    • Family relationships play this out on a daily basis
      • Always “being right” is seldom an effective strategy for keeping our families well
    • Given the political polarization in our society
      • Intellectual humility is especially important
      • This is an awareness of how incomplete and fallible our views on political and social issues are
    • Business research has borne out the economic value of humility
      • Humility is important for becoming an effective leader
      • It also improves an organization’s evolution and bottom line


  • Jesus, humiliation, and humility
    • Jesus clearly had the gift of humility
    • He was certainly more “other” than “self-focused”
    • That humility led to humiliation in his public execution as an enemy of the state and the Temple 
      • It was not a humiliation he sought – he was not a self-hater
      • But a humiliation he was willing to endure for the sake of others
      • A sacrifice that sprang from his divinely graced humility
    • As a gifted leader he was interested in cultivating “organizational humility” among his followers
      • Multiple times in the gospels he invites his disciples to model his own servanthood (e.g., Mark 9:35, Matt 5:3,  Matt 11:29, Matt 18:1 & 4, Luke 9:48, John 13:12-16) 
    • Such humility at the center of the Godhead reveals a shocking and liberating vision of the divine reign that Jesus inaugurated
      • That does not demean or humiliate the other in order to promote self-worth
      • But raises up others so that the liberation of God may be full realized
      • And all may rise together as honored children of God  


  • An illustration 
    • Booker T. Washington was among the most respected African American leaders of his era
      • An adviser to two American Presidents
      • The Founder of the renowned Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
    • A wealthy white woman wanted someone to chop wood for her
      • She approached a Black man strolling by and asked if he would like to early some money 
      • He smiled, rolled up his sleeves and did the work
      • Later a servant informed the matriarch of his identity
      • When she came to his office at the Tuskegee Institute to apologize, he respond, “it’s perfectly all right, madam.”  “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor.  Besides, it is always a delight to do something for a friend.”
    • Jesus refused to call us servants, but instead “friends” (John 15:15)
    • Humility is a graced venue for expanding that circle of friends.

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