YEAR C : HOMILY FOR THE 22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HUMILITY IN GREATNESS
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: SIRACH 3:17-20.28-29, PSALM 68, HEBREW 12:18-19.22-24, LUKE 14:1.7-14
My dearly beloved sisters and brothers in Christ there is an age long saying that ‘humility is the mother of all virtues while pride is an incurable malady’. Our liturgy of the word today presents us with the necessity of humility (even in greatness). Humility according to Fr. Joseph KREMPA, is the neglected virtue that is as vital for a Christian as radar is for an airplane. It is a virtue of honesty about ourselves, about our souls and about our dire need of God’s grace.
Humility is not low self esteem, it is not stupidity, (timidity) neither is it foolishness. Real humility is about truth, truth about who we really are, the talents we have and more importantly, those we don’t have, our limitations. It is a realization of our need of God and the other (brother or sister).
The first reading drawn from the wisdom of Ben Sira, Sirach or Ecclesiasticus as it is variously called, teaches us to live humbly without pretense, neither inflating nor deflating our achievements. Yeshua, the author of this great book exhorts us; “CONDUCT YOUR AFFAIRS WITH HUMILITY AND YOU WILL BE LOVED MORE THAN A GIVER OF GIFTS” (Sir. 3:17). In truth my brothers and sisters, experience has shown that it is more delightful working with people who accept the reality of their being: what they have and that which they don’t have, hence humble than working with proud donors or givers of gifts.
More so, Yeshua challenges us to the most important yet somewhat difficult aspect of being humble, ‘HUMILITY IN GREATNESS’. Sirach 3:18 posits: “The greater you are the more humble you should behave…” this of course goes with a blessing, “you will find mercy in the sight of God”. Indeed beloved friends in Christ, IT PAYS TO BE HUMBLE for God gives his grace to the humble but opposes the proud (James 4:6), He cares for the lowly but the proud he looks unto them from afar (Ps. 138:6). Also, 1Peter 5:5 states that God gives his grace to the humble and in 1Peter 3:4 we are told that a meek and quiet spirit…is of great value in God’s sight. That is not all, Isaiah 57:15 and Psalm 34:18 tell us that God is close to the humble spirit and broken heart. God guides and instructs the meek (Ps. 25:9) and He never forgets the cry of the humble (Ps. 9:12). Ultimately, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Kingdom of heaven, the greatest is he that humbles himself (Matt. 18:4). Would you rather go about your life in utmost humility and gain the aforementioned graces or pride yourself over the accidents of your life which in fact are God-given?
The master and perfect example of humility, Jesus Christ states clearly in Matthew 11:29 that he is gentle and lowly of heart, his disciples (you and I) should learn from him. He, though God, humbled himself to the level of mortal humanity and died a criminal’s death on the tree just to save sinful man (Phil 2:5-11). He came to serve, not to be served and give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45). This He demonstrated when He stooped so low to wash the feet of his apostles to give us an example of humility that we might follow (Jn 13:15); and went on to suffer death on a tree so as to save man. No wonder he tasks us today to humble ourselves in order to be exalted, (Lk. 14:11). The seriousness of this claim by Jesus is manifested in his repetition of this statement in (Lk 18:14 and Matt 23:12).
Dear friends in Christ, the life of Christ should be our guide today, it should help those who are great according to human standards to become humbler FOR NO ONE CAN EVER EQUAL THE HEIGHT ATTAINED BY CHRIST, YET NO ONE HAS EVER PROVEN AND WILL EVER PROVE TO BE HUMBLER THAN HIM. We are to struggle not to be like the scribes and Pharisees who prided themselves over the frivolities of life, their possessions; status and the likes, we should rather strive to always follow the way of Christ, the way of humility. St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians 1:31 that we should only pride ourselves about God and nothing else. All we have even our life and time is borrowed; we are actually having nothing that is not given us gratuitously by God. Humbly, we must ensure that we use our blessings for the good of others, not those who will pay us tomorrow but those who truly have need of them.
Through our humble service of God and man, may it please God to bestow his graces upon us and may we be counted worthy to enter into the city of the living God (Heb. 12:12). Humility is indeed the true path to greatness; it made men angels so said St. Augustine of Hippo. We may do well to follow this path religiously always.
FEED AND EDUCATE ONE…