By Any Other Name

19 Aug

The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man,
say to the prince of Tyre: 
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Because you are haughty of heart,
you say, “A god am I!
I occupy a godly throne
in the heart of the sea!” —
And yet you are a man, and not a god,
however you may think yourself like a god.  (Ez 28:1-2)

The say that “a rose, by any other name, is still a rose.”  Well, paraphrasing that, today’s reading would remind us that a frail, mortal being by any other name — king, lord, ruler — is still a frail, mortal being.

God’s prophets, so often, were sent to the kings of God’s people to chastise them and to remind them that, because they had strayed from God, they would be overrun by their enemies and that they would lose their lives and their kingdoms would be destroyed.

Why did this happen?

Because the kings of old, over and over again, relied upon their own might to protect themselves and their people.  They gave up relying upon the Lord.

There is that fatal flaw in our humanity, is there not, that expresses itself in our lives on a continuous basis.  We do not like being beholding to anyone.  We would rather do things ourselves.  We want to have all the honor and glory come our way.  We do not like sharing the limelight with others.

Just as we do with others here on earth, we often do with God.

After a while, we begin to think that we do not need God.

When everything goes smoothly, we tend to think that we have brought all of it on ourselves and we willingly take the credit for it.  When we are prosperous, we look less and less to God and more and more to ourselves.

I have seen this phenomenon take place over the past thirty-one years of my priesthood.  When times are good, really good, Mass attendance drops.  The Offertory collection drops.  People think that they have brought all that prosperity on themselves.

When times get bad — when there are wars or when the economy tanks — attendance at Mass radically increases as does the collection.  It is because people, once again, realize their need and their dependence upon God.

The truly humble person realizes his or her dependence upon God in good times as well as in bad.  The truly humble person realizes her or her dependence upon God every moment of every day.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for the gift of humility in all things this day.

O God, who, resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble:
grant us the virtue of true humility, just as your Only-begotten
Son showed in Himself a pattern for your faithful; that we may
never, by our pride, provoke your anger, but, rather, by our
meekness receive the riches of your grace. Through Christ,
Our Lord.  Amen.