If familiarity breeds contempt, then a corollary must be that family breeds humility! As much as I love my Franciscan family as well as my biological one, there have been times when I was less than enamored with them and they with me. While contempt is a strong word, I am sure that all of us can say we have shared a few family feuds. Even if those arguments lasted but a moment, the result of those battles has often been a deeper sense of humility. If my family can see my faults, and can help me to see them, then I know that I’m not all that I thought I was – and that is probably a good thing.
Who wants to talk fights and challenging conversations on Family Weekend here at Duke??? We hope, however that the presence of our families, even if they couldn’t come to campus this weekend, is a constant reminder of the people in our lives who are here to love us unconditionally as well as challenge us to see ourselves as we really are. It is in that spirit that we hear Jesus’ parable in this Sunday’s Gospel about the humble tax collector who recognized his faults and was not prone to an arrogance that only comes from being disconnected from loving relationships with others. Jesus encourages us to employ a posture of humility – an accurate understanding of who we are in the eyes of Christ. It is often the eyes of the people we love who help us to see ourselves more accurately.
While we are with our families this weekend, or with them in spirit miles away, let us give thanks to God for the people in our lives who have loved us so much that they will risk showing us who we really are. That is the definition of true familial love – engaging others in the ways that Christ would. May our families be for us and we for them an ongoing experience of simple love that breeds humility so that humbled together we will be exalted.
Have a great week and know that you are always welcome in my office, or to stop me on campus.
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