Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: “Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37, 39)
By: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
Homily for Sunday October 25 2020
“Alice, an active member of her church’s women’s group, had agreed to bake a cake for their upcoming bake sale but, busy about so many things, she forgot all about it until the last minute. Flustered, she quickly gathered the ingredients for an angel food cake, whipped them altogether and popped the mixture into the oven. Sadly, when she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped completely flat. ‘Oh dear,’ she exclaimed. ‘There’s no time to bake another cake.’ Committed to providing an item for the church bake sale, though, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake, and God be praised, Alice found it in the bathroom, a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in the center of the cake and covered the whole thing with thick wads of pink icing. The finished product looked beautiful!
“Trusting that no one would ever know the truth, she rushed her cake to church, arriving just as the bake sale was beginning. Now, to assure she’d never be found out, as Alice had rushed out the front door of her house, she yelled to her teenage daughter that she was to follow her mother to the church and buy that cake the instant it was set upon the table. But Alice’s daughter, like her mother busy about so many things, dallied in getting to the church, and when finally she did arrive discovered that her mother’s magnificent cake had already been sold. Alice was beside herself!
“Praying that night to the good God that she would be delivered from whatever fallout might ensue, Alice wrestled with fitful sleep. The next morning, though, Alice having delivered her pending humiliation into God’s care, her phone rang, and upon answering it, Alice accepted an invitation to a friend’s home where two tables of bridge were to be played that afternoon. Alice reveled in the company of her friends, all but forgetting that wretched cake until a festive lunch was served to the bridge players, at dessert time the hostess bringing forth the very cake in question.
“When a horrified Alice spied her cake, she thought to rush into the kitchen to confess her sin to the hostess, but before she could get to her feet, one of the other women at the table exclaimed, ‘What a beautiful cake!’ Alice sighed deeply, nodding appreciatively toward heaven when she heard the hostess, a prominent church member, reply, ‘Thank you so much. I baked it myself.’” (Original source unknown)
As this fictional story illustrates, pride can be a dangerous thing, too much of it pushing one into desperate circumstances. A prideful Alice presented a fake cake to the church bake sale rather than admit that she was really too busy to whip up anything. Amazingly, her salvation came when a yet more prideful hostess admitted that the beautiful cake was her own creation, sparing Alice the soon-to-be-revealed truth.
While both Alice and her hostess fell victim to prideful deception, there is yet another kind of pride that is based on truth, a holy pride rooted in the deepest expression of love of God and neighbor.
In the gospel passage we hear today, Jesus responds to the questioning Pharisees and Sadducees about the greatest commandment. “Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37, 39) When one’s words and actions are anchored in love of God and neighbor, one is truly exalted, lifted up above others. Perhaps ironically, holy pride is most modest in expression, its human embodiment humbled at the great commission to bear God’s love to the neighbor.
“A tree that wants to touch the sky must extend its roots into the earth. The more it wants to rise upwards, the more it has to grow downwards. So, to rise in life, we must be down to earth, humble and grateful.” (Original source unknown)