YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 8TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TOPIC: HONESTY AND HUMILITY
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Lk 6:39-45
Message # 513: “I Fill the Poor with Good Things”
- The Marian Message
a) The Blessed Mother expresses joy in acknowledging the presence of many of her little children consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. “In every part of the world, I am being received with love, with joy and with great enthusiasm by all the little, the simple and the poor” (letter a). It is through the littleness and humility of these children of hers that the triumph of her Immaculate Heart will be accomplished. (letter b).
b) She pledged to “fill the poor with good things” (letter d). The first ‘good thing’ is “the gift of humility of mind and of simplicity of heart”. This would enable them to receive the Word of God with love and docility, and thus truly believe in it and live it (letter e). The poor, therefore, will ever “remain in the true faith and of following with docility the entire truth of the Gospel” (letter f).
c) The second ‘good thing’ is “the good of love and generosity” (letter g). While the rich are filled with egoism, materialism and wickedness, the poor remain detached from worldly goods, trusting fully in Divine Providence, and selflessly sharing whatever little they possess to others in need.
d) The third is “the good of a particular predilection on the part of the Lord” (letter i). In their humility, docility and simplicity, the poor become truly pleasing to the Lord, for it is “only from the poor can the Most Holy Trinity receive its praise and its perfect glory.” Thus, they are truly special in the eyes of the Lord.
- The Sunday Readings
a) The first reading is from the wisdom book of Sirach. It talks about testing. It is necessary in order to reveal the true nature of every person. Just as a sieve reveals the husks, and the clay jar is molded in the fire, so also a man’s character is revealed when he speaks. The lesson being pointed out here is about the need to discern the attitude and character of every person, and not be easily taken in by the external façade being shown. One has to look inside in order not to be blinded by the outward appearance and behavior of a person.
b) The second reading is the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians to remain steadfast in fidelity and commitment to the Lord and in the fulfillment of their responsibilities. He acknowledged the weakness of everyone, owing to man’s corruptibility and limitations. But this should not discourage anyone from striving for holiness and perfection. In Jesus, there is always hope and certainty of victory – over sin and death. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”
c) The Gospel is the Lord’s challenge to all his disciples to avoid all kinds of pride and hypocrisy. Instead, he urges them to regularly look into one’s self and examine his own deficiencies, failures and sins. It is easy to see the faults of others and condemn or ridicule them. But the Lord warns them to resist this temptation and always remain humble, being reminded of their own sins and failings.
- Points for Reflection
a) The greatest sin of the scribes and Pharisees is hypocrisy. Jesus has time and again condemned them because of this. Hypocrisy comes from a Greek word which means ‘actor’. An actor portrays a role that is different from his true self. He performs only for show, for other to see. In the spiritual life, when a person acts contrary to his beliefs and convictions, then he is a hypocrite, a spiritual actor. He may portray an image of holiness and piety, especially when inside the church. This is obviously to get the admiration and praise of people. But in his daily life, he is actually greedy and selfish. Then he becomes an abomination to the Lord. His worship is pointless, for God looks into the heart. He is just like the Pharisees and scribes whom Jesus condemned.
b) The Philippines is regarded as a Catholic country, simply because an overwhelming majority of the population is Catholic. Yet there is so much corruption, violence and injustice that engulf the country. In other words, if there is personal hypocrisy, the Philippines can also be considered as having national hypocrisy. Hence, there is the challenge and call to personal conversion and religious authenticity for each and every Filipino Catholic. Only then can national conversion and genuine spirituality can take place in this country.
c) Physical blindness is definitely bad. But spiritual blindness is infinitely worse. Many people are afflicted with this blindness. There is nothing wrong with their eyes. Yet, due to their selfish and materialistic values, they fail and refuse to see the value of human life, the innate goodness of people, the sufferings and pains of the poor and marginalized, and the harm they do to others because of their greed and selfishness. This blindness is the real cause of so much suffering, violence and pain in this world. It is the fuel for the spread of the culture of death. As a quotation attributed to Mahatma Gandhi says, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
d) Spiritual blindness is caused by pride. It is the ‘plank’ being referred to by Jesus Christ that blocks one’s eyes to his own failures and sins. Basically, pride is making the self the center of one’s life. Interestingly, the letter ‘I’ is in the middle of the word ‘Pride’. When one gives excessive importance to the self, over and above everybody and everything else, he becomes blind to the welfare of others. This ‘plank’ has to be removed, and let the humble spirit emerge. Then it becomes easier to admit one’s mistakes, and be more compassionate and understanding of the sins and failures of others. St. Augustine gives this important advice: “There is no sin or crime committed by another which I myself am not capable of committing through my weakness; and if I have not committed it, it is because God, in His mercy, has not allowed me to and has preserved me in good.”
e) Humility is the only antidote to pride and the remedy to spiritual blindness. A humble person is always honest and truthful. He truly knows who he really is: that he is both weak and gifted. He is fully aware of his faults and sins, and so he avoids judging others. At the same time, he also acknowledges and appreciates his giftedness, and so develops the spirit of gratitude and generosity.
f) The world today is already engulfed with the spirit of pride. It is said that the present generation of young people, to large extent, have some sense of unjustified sense of superiority. They are made to believe and are convinced that they are better than the others. Hence, they lack patience and find difficulty in accepting failures. This accounts for the increasing number of depression and suicides of young people all over the world.
g) If humility is always akin to honesty and truthfulness, so also, on the other hand, the spirit of pride is always accompanied by the spirit of deception and lying. The devil is a proud being. He refuses to serve God. In fact, he wants to be God. And in his desire to bring souls to his side, he employs all kinds of deceptions and lies. A proud person is always ready and willing to lie and deceive others. On the other hand, God is humble. He even became man and lived a simple and lowly life, and suffered death on the cross. Then he proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” God can never lie and deceive. A humble person is always truthful, even if the truth hurts because he is ready to admit his faults and sins. There is no peace in the world because there is no truth. There is no truth because there is no humility.
- Closing –
Recite the Prayer of Humility.
GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
Bakit madali nating makita ang kamalian ng iba kaysa sa ating sariling mga kamalian?
Naniniwala ka ba na ang pagkamakasarili at kasakiman ay maaaring magdulot ng kamatayan sa ibang tao?
Ang labis na paghahangad ng kayamanan at ang labis na pagpapahalaga sa sarili ay nakakabulag sa espiritu. Sang-ayon ka ba rito?