Homily for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)
Years ago, one of my college friends—who remains among the best judges of character I know—gave me as a gift a book by Judith Martin, otherwise known as Miss Manners. I said, “Miss Manners, huh? Is this a hint?” And she said, “Yes.”
My friend has assured me that my social skills have improved over the past 20 years, but, more than that, the value of the book is that Judith Martin—who is an elegant, witty writer—explains the reason why we should care about manners. We might think that manners are about things like what to do with all the extra forks at a fancy restaurant, but Miss Manners reminds her readers that the fundamental purpose behind all manners is to facilitate harmonious relationships with other people. It doesn’t matter how fancy you are; if you make your guests or your hosts or your friends or your acquaintances feel uncomfortable, then you’re being rude.
The best definition of justice is “right relationship.” Manners are not the only thing that goes into right relationships, but they are one way of making interpersonal justice a little smoother. Fundamentally, having good manners means being considerate of other people.Continue reading “Etiquette for heaven”