The late Pope John Paul I, known as the “Smiling Pope” for his kindly demeanor and also as the “September Pope” for he reigned for only 33 days before his untimely death on September 28, 1978, chose as his motto, “Humilitas.” This word in Latin is not just a word that is defined as “humility” but also can be nuanced to include “commonplaceness” or even lowliness, docility, and servitude. He was the first Pope to refrain from the Papal Rites of Coronation and, like Pope Francis, eschewed the traditional protocols that would make him unapproachable. Pope Francis, who today is such a wonderful gift to the Church, has chosen the Latin phrase “Miserando atque Eligendo” which translates “by having mercy and by choosing.”
Common to each “motto” is the notion of “choosing.” We are certain that each day our lives are filled with countless choices which may lead to a greater sense of holiness and purpose. Humility, like “true love,” always places the other ahead of self. Luke’s parable on this day (18:9-14) presents opposite personalities and attitudes. The tax collector is assumed by others to be the greater sinner; however, his humble attitude and his confession that he is a sinner in need of mercy demonstrate his dependence upon God for salvation. The Pharisee, convinced that he had earned his own salvation without God’s mercy, in his prayer, throws the tax collector “under the bus” to justify himself. We can choose the virtue of mercy; when we choose mercy, mercy finds us! We call upon the Lord who shows us merciful love:
Lord God, who alone can probe the depths of the heart, you hear the prayer of the humble and justify the repentant sinner. As we stand before you, grant us the gift of humility, that we may see our own sins clearly and refrain from judging our neighbor.
I would like to extend a word of thanks to John and Lori Toth for their annual donation of the pumpkins that so benefit our Youth Group. I would also like to thank those who have supported this important ministry by your generosity. Lastly, I would simply like to say how proud I am of the members of our Youth Group. They are such a great group of young Catholics who always astound me by their energy, their willingness to serve, and by their faith which is growing by leaps and bounds every day!
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!