Humility: An Indispensable Christian Virtue
Readings: 1st: Ecc 3:17-20. 28-29; Ps: 64:4-11; 2nd: Heb 12:18-24; Gos: Lk 14:1. 7-14
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
On this twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church calls our attention to a fundamental Christian virtue, humility. It is an attribute and quality of God that all his children must strive to possess and live. Therefore she encourages us to reflect deeply on this great virtue. Also, she calls us to imitate the humility of Jesus Christ, our Lord, the new covenant mediator.
The first reading of this Sunday is a piece of candid advice from the Preacher. He gives us the key to a successful fellowship with God, and of course, with one another. He advises us, “Behave humbly, and you will find favor with the Lord.” This is absolutely right. Humility was a distinctive mark of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, it must also be for us as Christians. The Preacher also reminds us that pride is a disease. However, the good news is that it has a cure – the imitation of Christ’s humility.
The second reading reminds us that our destination is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the city of the living God. In this city, only the humble like the Angels and Saints can dwell there. Indeed, the proud cannot because a proud heart cannot worship the Lord. Furthermore, in this city, “everyone is a firstborn and a true citizen.” Hence, as citizens of this city, we must clothe ourselves with humility like Christ our Mediator.
The gospel takes us to the climax of today’s good news. Christ exhorts us, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus teaches the importance of humility and simplicity in our Christian journey. In this regard, we have a lot to learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who humbled herself. Her humility was so remarkable that God exalted her to be the mother of his son.
Mary attested to this through her Magnificat: “My soul glorifies the Lord…for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant…He has brought down rulers from their thrones and has lifted the humble” (Lk 1:47. 59). Therefore, there is no reason to wonder why Christ was humble. He had humble parents from whom he learned humility. Also, we must emulate the humility of Christ and Mary in order to be like them.
There is nothing to lose by being humble. The book of Proverbs tells us, “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, honor, and life” (Prov 22:4). On the contrary, pride results in defeat and shame. Any spiritual life not anchored on humility definitely will be an empty one. This is because such a Christian will only work for himself and without regard for others.
Finally, the church teaches us that: “Humility is the foundation of prayer.” (CCC 2559). Only a humble heart can come and prostrate before God in prayer. Humble persons are always ready to ask for guidance from God and others. Also, they listen and learn from others. It takes humility to say please, and also to ask for forgiveness. So, let us humbly implore the Lord: “O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. From the desire to be honored and esteemed deliver me!”
Peace be with you all!