YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HUMILITY
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: Humility makes pleasant to God the perfume of human spirituality. In humility, we truly recognise our state and condition as mortal men and women, human beings created after the image and likeness of God. In humility, we realise how much we are in need of God and that outside His love and mercy we are empty and devoid of any meaningful content. Nothing is more endearing to God as a humble soul. May You, O Lord, create within us a humble spirit and contrite heart; Amen.
The depth of our relationship with God and the profundity of our spirituality depend a great deal on how humble we are. Humility reminds of our emptiness and of our poverty and of our great need of God; “the poor man called; the Lord has heard him” (Ps 34:6). God is always pleased with the humble for His “eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit” (Is 66:2). On the contrary, a proud fellow is an eyesore before God. A proud man is he who presents his credentials to God for approval thinking of himself to be better than others and that it all depend on his human effort, whereas a humble man is he who knows that it is God who certifies us out of His graciousness and mercy. This was the difference between the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 18:9-14). In prayers, the Pharisee condemned others and presented himself to be the model who has no need of improvement, as such already self-justified. The Tax Collector, on the other hand, condemned himself trusting that the grace and mercy of God can transform him into a better person. Because of his pride, the supposedly good deeds of the Pharisee were turned into ash. Certainly, “everyone who is proud in heart is detestable to the Lord” (Prov 16:5). On the contrary, as a result of his humility, the Tax Collector received pardon for his sins and reconciliation with God. “Demons flee before humility” (cf. Pope Francis), especially the demons of sin and pride. In his noble words Saint Augustine wrote that “it was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
Humility brings us to the knowledge of our human fallibility and imperfection. Humility helps us to realise the insufficiency of human effort and how poor and in lack we are. Humility brings us to recognise our sins and to seek pardon for them. Humility also teaches us of the possibility to be better and to grow in perfection. Humility makes us pliable and brings us the graces we need to allow ourselves to be moulded by God into the best version of ourselves that can ever be! It is this knowledge that leads us to seek pardon and mercy like the Tax Collector in the Gospel Reading of today. It is this knowledge that disposes us to pray in humility of heart as we were instructed in the First Reading (Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19), conscious of the fact that “the humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds; until it arrives he is inconsolable. And the Lord will not be slow, nor will He be dilatory on their behalf.” It is this knowledge that brings us to profess our dependence on God and on His graces and to rely on Him because “the Lord will surely rescue us from all evil attempts on us, and bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever; Amen” (cf. 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18). It is only in being humble that we can actually be exalted “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Heavenly Father, give us the grace to recognise who we truly are and the humility to trust ourselves in your never-failing grace and presence, that in our humility of heart, we may find favour and pardon in Your sight; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE
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