XXII.Sir. 3:17-20, 28-9; Heb. 12:18-9, 22-24; Lk. 14:1, 7-14
A pastor was having difficulty with his assigned parking space on the church parking lot. People parked in his spot whenever they pleased, even though there was a sign that clearly said, "This space reserved." He thought the sign needed to be clearer, so he had a different sign made, which read, "Reserved for Pastor Only." Still people ignored it and parked in his space. "May be the sign should be more forceful," he thought. So he devised a more intimidating one, which announced, "Thou shalt not park here." That sign didn't make any difference either. Finally, he hit upon the words that worked; in fact, nobody ever took his parking place again. The sign read, "The one who parks here has to preach the sermon next Sunday morning!" In Today’s gospel Jesus speaks against taking first positions and places of honor.
First reading from the Book of Sirach, places great emphasis on the virtue of humility and shows great sympathy to poor people and the oppressed. Jesus was humble, so his followers are expected to be humble, trying to imitate his humility. Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart says he.
All the great men praised the virtue of humility. “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues,” taught Confucius. Benjamin Franklin was convinced that “Humility makes great men twice honorable.” When Jesus taught His disciples the meaning of true greatness, He called a child and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the
Children tend to remember more easily that they are not God. They know that they are dependent on their parents for food, shelter, and everything else, so it's natural for them to accept being dependent on God as well. Everything a child has is a gift from others and he takes pride in the gifts. Great men were able to see the gifts of God, and they always remained grateful to him. This attitude made them humble. God fills the humble with his blessings.
Jesus is King and one of the most important law in Christ's Kingdom is the law of humility. This law says that "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted". In other words, greatness in his Kingdom comes not from out-doing other people, out performing them, and out distancing them.
Greatness in Christ's eyes comes from serving other people, from elevating them, helping them advance, and keeping oneself in the background. In his very first sermon, Jesus had taught the same law with different words: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
." Kingdom of Heaven
Humility can be practiced by doing our daily duties with dedication and commitment.
wrote to the
Philippians, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility
regard others as better than yourself. Let each of you look not to your own
interests, but to the interest of others.” St Paul
Humility makes us instruments in the hands of God. It makes possible a relationship with God. “There is no room for God in him who is full of himself, “says Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher. God can work through us only when we offer a chance by keeping our pride aside.
When Christian Herter was governor of
, he was
running hard for a second term in office. One day, after a busy morning chasing
votes (without lunch), he arrived at a church barbecue. It was late afternoon
and Herter was famished. As Herter moved down the serving line, he held out his
plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to
the next person in line. Massachusetts
"'Excuse me,” Governor Herter said, “do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?”
"'Sorry,” the woman told him. “I'm supposed to give one piece of chicken to each person because you are going to get other food items also from other servers.”
"'But I'm starved and I love chicken,” the governor said.
"'Sorry,” the woman said again. “Only one to a customer.”
Governor Herter was a modest and unassuming man, but he decided that this time he would throw a little weight around. "'Do you know who I am?” he said. “I am the governor of this state!”
"'Do you know who I am?” the woman retorted. “I'm the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister.”
After the construction of the Titanic, a reporter asked the man who had built it how safe the ship would be. "Not even God can sink it," he answered.
Well, God didn't have to sink it; an iceberg was sufficient.
The Law of Humility simply means that we should remember that we are not God, that God is God, and we are dependent on him.
The instructions of Jesus remind us that we are not the center of the world. God is. Our value, our success comes from our relationship to our Center, our God. That is humility.
We need to practice humility in personal and social life. Humility is based on the psychological awareness that everything I have is a gift from God and, therefore, I have no reason to elevate myself above others.
Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit may come to our aid to free us from vanity, pride and false humility and to have the patience to wait under God’s mighty hand to be exalted at the proper time. Let’s seek the wisdom that will lead us to true and right judgment in all things and praise God at all times, humbly accepting everything gratefully and joyfully from his loving hands.