CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address given today at Castel Gandolfo before the midday Angelus.
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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!
1. With the beginning of September, social life resumes its ordinary rhythm. After the summer break, different activities are taken up again and the new school year is already upon us.
In this context, a biblical expression found in the Book of Sirach, which we heard in today´s liturgy, is particularly significant: “My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts. The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord” (Sirach 3:17-18).
This is clearly a concept that goes against the current. In fact, the mentality of the world pushes one to stand out, to get ahead, with shrewdness and without scruples, asserting oneself and one´s own interests. Meekness and humility are rewarded in the Kingdom of God. In earthly affairs, on the contrary, not rarely social climbing and arrogance are victorious; the consequences can be seen by all: rivalries, abuses, frustrations.
2. The Word of the Lord helps us to see things in the right way, which is that of eternity. In this Sunday´s Gospel, Christ says: “Every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” Luke 14:11). He, himself, the Son of God made man, went consistently on the way of humility, spending the greater part of his earthly life in the hiddenness of Nazareth, next to the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, doing the work of a carpenter.
Jesus lived the exhortation of the ancient wise man: “Son, perform your tasks in meekness. … The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself.” In this way he has wished to say to men of all times that superficiality and social climbing, even if they obtain some immediate success, do not constitute, however, the real good of man and society. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is effectively prepared by the people who carry out their work seriously and honestly, not aspiring to things that are too high, but turning, in daily faithfulness, to those that are lowly (see Romans 12:16).
3. To carry out his universal plan of salvation, God “regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Luke 1:48), the most Holy Virgin. While we prepare to celebrate in a few days the feast of the Nativity of Mary, let us confidently invoke her, so that every activity, professional or in the home, may be done in an atmosphere of genuine humanity, thanks to the humble and active contribution of everyone.
[Translation by ZENIT]