BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara



(SIRACH 3:17-18,20,28-29; HEBREWS 12:18-19,22-24A; LUKE 14:1’7-14)

On this twenty second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church calls our attention to a very important Christian virtue, ‘Humility’. It is an attribute and quality of God which all his children must strive to possess and live. We are called to imitate the humility of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the mediator of the new covenant. Humility has probably never been popular for anyone, even for the best of saints. On the other hand, lots of saints have practiced humility simply by always putting the well-being of others ahead of their own well-being. Today we need to listen attentively to these reading and try to understand what God wants to teach us about humility.
To understand humility, we have to look at its vice, pride. The capital sin of pride hurts us in so many ways other than just causing us some occasional embarrassment as we saw in the gospel. It stands in the way of our relationship with God and with others. It is good we understand that we can identify two types of pride: healthy pride and neurotic pride according to Fr. Robinson. Healthy pride is a pride founded on truth and grounded in reality. It is the recognition of the talents or accomplishments we can lay claim to and the acknowledgement of other people’s support. But neurotic pride blows our talents and accomplishments out of proportion, we convince ourselves we are greater than who we really are. We assume God. It makes us think that God is someone we are competing with rather than a person who is respected, obeyed, and loved.

There is nothing to lose by being humble. Proverb tells us that: “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, honor, and life” (Prov 22:4). On the contrary, pride results in defeat and shame. Any spiritual life that is not based on humility will definitely be an empty one. This is because such a Christian will only work for himself, and without regards for others. And the church teaches us that: “Humility is the foundation of prayer.” (CCC 2559). Only a humble heart can come and prostrate before God in prayer. Also, without humility, it is difficult to kneel before a priest for confession.

Many years ago, a man riding on a horse came across some soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood across a barrier without success. A corporal who was commanding them was standing by as the men struggled. The horse rider who was all dressed up to his face asked the corporal why he was not giving them a helping hand. The corporal replied, “I am the corporal; I give orders.” The horse rider came down from the horse, went up and stood by the soldiers and as they were lifting the heavy log of wood, he helped them to get it across the barrier. The horse rider quietly mounted his horse and before moving he told the corporal, “The next time your men need help, send for the Commander-in-Chief.” It was then that the corporal and his men found out that the horse rider was George Washington, the first American president and the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American revolutionary war.

My brothers and sisters, humility does not consist in what we profess with our lips but in what we do afterwards. That is why we can say that humility shows itself in obedience. If it is genuine, it must be able to move us to do something positive. The challenge today is not about watching others practice humility but whether we ourselves are willing always to humble ourselves. Humility does not mean acting humble but actually being humble and drawing no attention to ourselves. Humble people are loved so much, they make life easier for all of us, they take up the burdens and responsibilities of community without drawing attention to themselves and they serve others with joy.
God bless you!

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