HOMILY OF THE THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
Theme: The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him!
“The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him!” In deed today, we call out to God for our different lowlinesses. May He hear us calling; may He hear you calling; Amen.
One of the virtues that God holds to the highest esteem is the virtue of humility. The Word of God right from the beginning made this known to us. God formed “man from the dust of the earth” (Gen 2:7) from ‘humus’ the very word from which the word humility is derived. The expression “man you are dust and unto dust you shall return” teaches us that the moral virtue of humility is an indispensable tunnel that leads us back to our Creator. An expression that reminds us of our original status of humility; a status which springs from the very material with which God created all of us. Our point of departure which also is our point of arrival. Any movement away from this status is just like replacing the water in a fish pond with the most expensive wine. The wine may be very expensive, more costly, for sure, than water. But then, the only mission this costly wine has is to choke to death every single fish in the pond. This is exactly what the absence of humility does in the life of every child of God. This form of condition spiritually chokes us to death. A spiritually dead fellow is someone who can no longer connect to God. On the contrary, a humble heart has the freest access to his or her Creator. This is why the First Reading (Sirach 35:12-14, 16-19) affirms the fecundity of the prayer of the humble of heart; “the prayer of the humble pierces the clouds…and the Lord will not delay.”
The readings of today give us a hint of the kind of prayer acceptable to God and also of how this kind of prayer is made. Truly, “the humble man’s prayer pieces the clouds.” Have you ever asked yourself, how does a humble man or woman pray? The answer is right before you. Open once more the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 18:9-14). The two men in the temple are clear examples of a humble heart’s prayer and its negative opposite. A humble heart’s prayer acknowledges the supremacy of God and the healing effect of His mercy over our inadequacies and efforts. This was the prayer made by that Tax Collector. Its opposite asserts the supremacy of our efforts and power over God’s grace! What a spiritual disaster! What a spiritual disconnection! This was the prayer of the Pharisee. Was that a prayer at all?
Most often, we are carried away by our self-worth that we forget that what interest’s God most is our nothingness. What interest’s Him most is our humility because that is the main key to our exaltation; “the person who humbles himself will be exalted.” Many of us are victims of this; even at the confessional. We give every reason why we are not to be condemned for our sins; we give reasons why we should be praised for disobeying God, reasons why the third party should be blamed for our wrong choices that we forget that the only thing God wants to hear from us is; ‘I am sorry for my sins and by the help of your grace I will not do them again.’ A humble heart is that heart which can submit himself or herself to God.
May God bless you with a humble heart and may your prayers pierce the clouds to the Throne of graces and favours; Amen. Happy Sunday;
-Fr Cyril Unachukwu