Reflection for Saturday, August 20, 2022: 20th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Burke-Sullivan, Eileen
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|Today's memorial and readings present a complex banquet from which to feast.  Finding a common theme for reflection is not simple, however, and each time I have prayed with these texts and this feast I have felt confronted by some insights into the "glory" of God made present in Christ.|I usually have thought of the word glory, as applied to a human person, as a kind of compliment about competence, authority, power, beauty, brilliance of mind or talent and so forth.  A bright light shining among the nations is a title or description of one who is known as a brilliant thinker, a great artist or artistic performer, an amazing scientist, a fabulous athlete etc.  One who stands above the crowds of more ordinary people as unique and special.  But today's scriptures hint at one of those reversals so attractive to biblical writers from both testaments. |If we read the first reading under the influence of the Gospel, the ultimate glory of God is humility – that is truth about what is.  Yes, God is the wondrous creator of all – out of the Divine Self.  As such God does not have glory by comparison, but simply because God defines what is.  Genuine humility is not modesty, or self-deprecation, or failure to recognize one's gifts so often associated with this term.  Humility is the simple truth of each human person.  Each human person is of God, and therefore glorious because s/he is.  Glory bears responsibility within its very existence, however.  Glory pours itself out.  It is recognized because it gives itself away.|To claim a kind of comparative "glory" or the glory of someone else is usually to deny the truth about my own being.  Attempting to be honored by other persons for what I seem to accomplish rather than simply serving them with the glory of my true being is another form of denial. |In Matthew's Gospel passage chosen for today we find Jesus challenging us not to take on the false glory of titles or positions of human honor – which are lies.  Rather be what we genuinely are and honor God alone for the Divine Glory that God shares with us.  This recognition of God's glory and the intimacy that it engenders between each of us, and God, is total consolation – the great joy possible and engenders gratitude and love – the gifts that set us all free.|Bernard of Clairvaux was an 11th Century person of great talent for intellectual wisdom, joy, reconciliation, and public speaking. He grew very close to God in this life as a scholar and a man of deep prayer. He continues to serve as one of a whole constellation of glorious saints who fill the temple of God's presence in the world.  Perhaps the witness of his life, like that of other saints can be for us a sign of humble glory – the way of God on earth.  
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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