HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: THE DONKEY THAT TEACHES HOW TO GROW IN HUMILITY
BY: Fr Andrew Ekpenyong
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 28 2022
1. Joke. You may have heard the classic joke, “He won a badge for humility, but they took it away because he wore it.” Sisters and brothers, thank you, for practicing our Lord’s teachings in today’s Gospel reading (Lk 14:1, 7-14), namely, taking the lowest places in social gatherings and also hosting those who cannot pay you back. I assume you have done these acts of humility several times in your life, in accord with our Lord’s example and teachings. Now, what happens when you are exalted because of your humility? As today’s Gospel reading says: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 14:11). How do we stay humble after being exalted because of our acts of humility? Today’s 1st reading gives a principled answer: “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” (Sirach 3:18). That is, the greater you are, humble yourself the more, and you will find favor before the Lord. Growth in humility is a beautiful path to holiness. When we humble ourselves, God exalts us, and if we become humbler because of this exaltation, then we receive even greater exaltation. This is the path, the trail that our Lord Jesus Christ blazed for us, as the mediator of a new covenant with God, using the expression in today’s 2nd reading (Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a). So how do we grow in humility? By learning from Christ Himself who said in today’s Gospel acclamation: “learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart” (Mt 11:29). Here is a true story of one who learned from Christ and from the donkey that carried our Lord triumphantly into Jerusalem.
2. The Donkey. This true story was dramatized this year 2022, in programs 3725 and 3726 by Unshackled, the longest running radio drama in history, aired on more than 3,000 radio stations globally in fourteen languages. The story is about Sandhu Sundar Singh, a famous Indian Christian missionary. After he completed a very successful preaching tour around the world, from India to Malaya, to Japan, etc, Sadhu Sundar was met by people in Europe who asked him, “Doesn’t it do harm, at least to your humility, now that you are getting so much honor?” Sadhu Sundar’s answer was: “No. The donkey went into Jerusalem, and they put garments on the ground before him. He was not proud. He knew it was not done to honor him, but for Jesus, who was sitting on his back. When people honor me, I know it is not me, but the Lord, who does the job.” (Also told by Corrie Ten Boom, Each New Day.) Wow!
3. Over to Us. Sisters and brothers, let us remind ourselves of this daily prayer for growth in humility. “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine”. And when we are exalted by God and others because of our humble acts, may we also remember that we are like the donkey that carried our Lord into Jerusalem. The honor is for the Lord who uses us for His work of salvation. And it is a privilege to be of use to Him who does not need us. At such moments, like the Psalmist, we can say this prayer of praise: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name be the glory.” Psalm 115:1. Or we can even sing the Latin version: “Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam!”