Our scripture this weeks about Humility. The first reading says the greater we are the more we should behave humbly. Christ in the Gospel says that he who humbles himself will be exalted. Lets confess any ways we let false pride and arrogance rule us..
I was listening to TV the other night and someone said that the really good person doesn’t draw attention to himself or herself; good people would usually be surprised to be described as such. For example I’ve a friend who needed an operation. The doctor was in the theater for a long time. Before he went in he took time to explain to us what he hoped to do, and afterwards to explain how it had done. This is a living example of Christ’s teaching in our Gospel that we should try to serve all humbly. This challenges us all. For most of us are in service jobs of one kind or another. We should do these with Christian love and gentleness.
“He’s a legend in his own mind” people sometimes say of the proud. That’s how Christ saw the haughty Pharisees. They were supposed to religious pastors but they wanted top places and people fawning on them rather than they serving others. More seriously, they only invited the rich and powerful to their banquets. We say bully for the Lord in exposing them as hypocrites. But that’s a temptation we can all succumb to, making self-centered ambition and pride our gods. The Devil’s fall began with, “I will not serve”. He sought to exalt himself at all cost even to the extent of fighting against God; he was cast down to the deepest realms of hell. We should take note for as the first reading says, “there is no cure for the proud mans malady, for an evil growth has taken root in him”. Scripture says that the greater we are the more humble we usually are.
Lets pray to be such unpretentious servants of God and others; for that’s the way we will be raised up to happiness in both this world and the next; its the way, paradoxically, to have the top place in the banquet of eternal life. Its the way Christ himself chose in the desert at the beginning of his public life when Satan tempted him to make wealth and glory his all. Christ became Lord by rejecting that false goal and choosing instead the humble self-emptying and total self-giving of the cross. So must we.
I’m sure all of us remember people whose humble love inspired us when young. I remember and aunt who had no children herself but who lavished sweets and kindness on our large family; we said she was a living saint when she died young. Like her we should live out our Christian role of humble self-giving love and care in the ordinary duties of life. This means giving that bit extra in worshipping God and caring for the vulnerable. As the song says: “if I help somebody as I pass along then my living will not be in vain”. That’s our vocation, to make a difference by the simple kindness of our lives. The devil says “I will not serve”. Christ says I’ll serve humbly, take the last place beside two thieves on a cross. Satan was cast down and Christ raised to glory, freeing us and beginning God’s reign on earth. Obviously our choice, if we are to be true Sons of God is to imitate our divine Savior’s humble selfless love. Then we will not only be happy in this life, we will also be raised up to the arms of God our Father forever. The humbler our service the higher our throne For the values of a hard self-serving world fade to ashes at last and leave us in the lowest place. But Christ, humble servant on the cross is lord of love, goodness, happiness, peace and beauty for this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s own, called to love humbly without prejudice, lets profess our faith.
Prayer of the faithful
And as God’s humble servants we bow to ask him for all we need..
For Our Holy Father and all church leaders, that they may not exalt themselves but lead the flock humbly in the truth…
For leaders and authorities in our society that they may carry out their roles with fairness towards all, especially the poor.
For our youth, that they may not put all their energies into the pursuit of arrogant fame and wealth, but turn their hearts to humble service of God and others so be exalted beyond measure..
For ourselves that in our homes and vocations we may carry out our duties with integral service of God and those in our care.
We now pray in silence for our own special intentions……
For the weak, the vulnerable and the sick in our society that through our humble care they may experience the love of God.
For the dead, especially those who have died recently..
Heavenly Father we offer these prayers through the humble Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit forever, amen.
A good example of someone who humbled himself and was exalted is John Paul 11. In early life he was a goalkeeper for a small soccer team, then he tried his hand as a starving actor. Finally he broke stones in a quarry for a living. It was down there among the people that he learned the wisdom that made him a great Pope. When he led the frail underground church under Fascism and communism in Poland he was always with the people and had many Jewish as well as Christian friends. We can all learn from his life to never lose touch with the earth, for its the dust we’ll return to. Let’s earn a high throne by our humble love and faith, and ask the help of a humble village girl in this…Hail Mary