Date: Sunday, September 01, 2019
Our first reading is “wisdom” from Jesus Ben Sira (late 3rd, early 2nd century BC). The wise seek wisdom. Know-it-alls don’t. Truly wise persons share what they have learned. Truly wise persons listen attentively. It is generational. “Humility” comes from “humus” earth. It is living with our feet on the ground – with honesty, balance and perspective. It is not puffing oneself up or constantly putting oneself down. The wise know wisdom involves an ongoing exchange through the centuries, among generation, from many sources. Jesus Ben Sira teaches “an attentive ear is the joy of the wise” and “alms atone for sins” A wise person has many mentors. A wise person listens and is charitable.
I was listening to a story about William Tucker on NPR Radio on Friday. William’s parents, Anthony and Isabella, arrived in our country in 1619, 400 years ago, on the slave ship White Lion. Their son William is the first black baby born in the colonies. His birth name is recorded “William Tucker” named after Captain Tucker and owner of the planation. He is believed to be buried in a cemetery in Hampton, Virginia. Slaves did not have markers over their graves, but tree saplings were planted nearby. Descendants of William Tucker care for the cemetery. It is sacred ground. The Tuckers are indebted to him. William is their mentor.
Jesus of Nazareth is having a sabbath dinner. He is watching other guests as they are watching him. As they jockey for seats of honor, Jesus invites them to sit own without concern for their status. Jesus says to the host, the next time you have a dinner, invite the poor who will be unable to reciprocate. Humility makes us aware we are not the center of the universe, but one small piece of it. “Aware that so many have helped us, how can we not reach out to help those who have not been as blessed as we have been. Jesus doesn’t mean we are not allowed to invite friends, relatives and neighbors to dinner…he just doesn’t want us to forget those who do not have the wherewithal to invite us in return. That is humility!” Guiding Light, Fr. Joe Robinson. Our seat at the heavenly banquet is not reserved because of our status or achievement but only by God’s invitation.