Pastor's Desk: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 28th August 2010 in Pastor's Desk

This week’s article comes from Fr. Tom Cahill, writing for Intercom magazine.

High Flyers

Cleo, a 13-year-old pet parrot, is usually a model macaw. But one day she had a panic attack and just lost it. She shot up 15 m (50 ft) into a tree and couldn’t come down. Having branched out, she fazed out. Her owner had to hire a cherry picker to bring the petrified parrot down to earth. Cleo had never flown so high before, her owner said, and she thought that the unfortunate bird just didn’t know how to come down. The moral of the story? Don’t be a bird-brained high flyer.

Today’s readings have high flyers and ‘bird brains’ in mind when they say: be humble. Sirach tells us to go about our business with humility (3:17). Luke gives some street-wise advice on not being pushy in public and hogging the limelight (Luke 14:10). Both readings come with a health warning on losing the run of ourselves.

Humility gets a bad press usually. It seems a weakness to many, a sign of immaturity, or a personality defect. Today’s go-getter geist is aggressive and competitive, not kind and cooperative. It operates an in-your-face, nothing-succeeds-like-success marketplace. There are no humility-friendly zones there.

In part, that’s because humility isn’t a loner. It brings friends: reverence for the sacredness of human life, respect for every person, a willingness to accept gracefully that others may be more intelligent, gifted and capable. And the most bothersome buddy of all: regard for God.

To prevent panic attacks, and high flying that puts you out on a limb, avoid cherry picking. Just take the straight and narrow.

Fr. Tom Cahill SVD, Divine Word Missionaries

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