Agere Contra

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles November 04,2017
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Agere Contra

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles November 04,2017
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Saturday, Nov 4, 2017 30th Week in Ordinary Time 1st Reading: Rom 11:1-2, 11-12, 25-29 Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-11

One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and he was carefully watched.

Jesus then told a parable to the guests, for he had noticed how they tried to take the places of honor. And he said, “When you are invited to a wedding party, do not choose the best seat. It may happen that someone more important than you has been invited, and your host, who invited both of you, will come and say to you: ‘Please give this person your place.’ What shame is yours when you take the lowest seat!

“Whenever you are invited, go rather to the lowest seat, so that your host may come and say to you: ‘Friend, you must come up higher.’ And this will be a great honor for you in the presence of all the other guests. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised.”

(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life

Are you good at riddles? Try this: “Sitting tall, standing small, I go round and round to find a place on the ground to fall. Who am I?” Hold your guesses until we have extracted the better part of its moral lesson. The riddle is mind boggling because from experience we learn that standing up increases our height while sitting down decreases the same. Surely it cannot apply to human beings. And rightly so because the riddle refers a dog! Dogs are taller when they sit and smaller when they stand on their four legs.

This observation helps us reflect deeper on how we should stand before God. The moment we stand up before God to demand things, such is the time that we look really mean. Who can be so arrogant as to stand big before God and demand anything?

In the eyes of God, humility is the measure of greatness. But humility is a tall order for us since our natural tendency is to drift towards power and prestige. It is more challenging then to be great in the eyes of God than to be great in the eyes of men. Greatness in human eyes only requires that we ride in on the human instinct for power and prestige. On the contrary, greatness in God’s eyes requires that we go against the tide of our sinful tendencies. Ascetical Literature calls this “agere contra”, the art of overcoming evil tendencies by doing exactly the opposite of what one is sinfully inclined to.

Jesus assures us of real greatness as he promises in today’s Gospel reading that he will elevate those who humble themselves. This promise comes with an assurance of heaven, the door of which is like a doghouse that can only be accessed by people who can stoop really low. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M., Email:

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