HOMILY FOR THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
HOMILY THEME: SO, WHAT IS HUMILITY?
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
Could you please define the word humility in your own words? Every religion and culture preaches or encourages humility, but a renowned Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suspects the idea of humility when he says: “He that humbles himself wishes to be exalted.” On a positive note Jesus says: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exhausted” (Matthew 23:12).
The life of Jesus was a life of humility and the prophet Zechariah prophesied his humble entry into the world: “See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus enjoins his disciples to follow his humble pattern of life when he said: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus was indeed a gentle giant. He had all the powers in heaven and on earth and yet he treated people with tenderness and compassion. He teaches us not only the virtue of humility but also the power of gentleness. He calls us to cultivate the virtue of gentleness, because he wants us to be as gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). We should know that Meekness (gentleness) is not weakness. “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength,” says St. Francis de Sales.
Humility is the first stage of life in the spirit because to be humble is to be Christ-like. The Apostle Paul asserts: “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9). Humility is the first step towards life in the spirit. The Apostle further differentiates between life in the flesh and life in the spirit. To live in the flesh is to exercise raw human and unrefined habits and instincts, as opposed to living in the spirit, which means living the best human potentials supported by divine grace.
It is not easy to measure humility, but C.S. Lewis writes in his book, Mere Christianity: If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?
Genuinely humble people are not many and so People today attempt to distinguish between genuine humility and false sense of humility. For example, it is said that genuine Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
How does a humble person look like? We can paint a portrait of a humble person with the following criteria:
•Someone who knows himself well – acknowledges his strength and accepts his weakness and failures.
•One who respects other people.
•Someone who is willing to learn from others. Epicetus the philosopher says, “It is impossible for a person to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
•One who accommodates the opinion of others, etc.
•One who is willing to take corrections and is disposed to receive criticisms.
•Someone who sees something good in others.
•A silent donor (helper).
So, what is humility and what other qualities can you find in a humble person?
——————————————————- 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time A,; ZEC 9:9-10;
ROM 8:9, 11-13;