Path to holiness paved by humility, doing God’s will

| Deacon Paul Shovelain | July 31, 2013 | 0 Comments


Prestige, status, honor, glory, wealth: Are these the things that motivate us? The Scriptures for this coming weekend seek to purify our motivation. In the Gospel, Jesus warns against greed. His parable about the farmer encourages us to store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth.

I remember recently seeing a front- page article in a local newspaper that the owner of a $10 million house in the metro area was going to tear down the house and build a larger one. That seems like a great modern-day example of our Gospel reading. It appears that greed is prevalent in our society. People want more and more money in the hope that it will bring them happiness.

Christ, on the other hand, shows us that humility is the attitude we ought to have. In the second reading, we hear St. Paul speak about Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. Now the spot at the right hand is the most prestigious spot in heaven. To be at the right hand is to have the best spot and to be at the spot of the most influence.

Jesus, however, did not grasp at this spot. Rather, as St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians, “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself and took the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. It was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on the cross. Because of this God, highly exalted him.”

So, what was Jesus’ motivation? Not prestige, status, honor, glory or wealth, but obedience. He was motivated by a desire to do the Father’s will. He did not grasp or cling to his spot in heaven, but humbled himself. Jesus became a man like us out of love for us. He humbled himself in order to redeem us. That was all part of the Father’s will. As a result of doing the Father’s will, he was given the greatest spot in all of heaven.

Doing God’s will

What are we to do? We, too, are called to humble ourselves. When we choose to reject a Church teaching or disregard what our shepherds are asking us to do, we will suffer.

We are called to humble ourselves before God and one another. When someone legitimately asks for help, we ought to do it if we can. As it says in Scripture, “To whom much has been given, much is expected.” So, too, we have been given much in our society. Yet, our motivation should not be just to acquire more, but rather to use what we have been given in the way God intends.

As we continue on the path to holiness, may we be motivated by our desire to do God’s will. May we humble ourselves and seek to live in conformity with God’s will. In doing so, we hope and pray that God will have mercy on us and grant us also a seat in heaven.

Deacon Shovelain is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Michael in St. Michael, and his teaching parish is St. Patrick of Cedar Creek in Oak Grove.


Sunday, Aug. 4
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
  • Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
  • Luke 12:13-21


In what ways do I need to simplify my lifestyle in order to be a better servant of God and others?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures