On this twenty second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church calls our attention to a very important Christian virtue, humility. It is an attribute and quality of God which all his children must strive to possess and live. We are therefore enjoined this Sunday to reflect deeply on this great virtue. Also, we are called to imitate the humility of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the mediator of the new covenant.
The first reading of this Sunday is a candid advice from the Preacher. He gives us the key to a successful fellowship with God, and of course, with one another. He advices us: “Behave humbly and you will find favour 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 can be cured through 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 of Angels and Saints can dwell there. Certainly, the proud cannot because, a proud heart cannot worship the Lord. Furthermore, in this city “everyone is a first born and a true citizen.” Hence, as citizens of this city we must cloth ourselves with humility just 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 up the humble” (Lk 1:47. 59). Therefore, there is no reason to wonder why Christ was humble. He had humble parents and learnt humility from them. Also, we must emulate the humility of Christ and Mary in order to be like them.
There is nothing to lose by being humble. Proverb tells us that: “Humility and the fear of the Lord brings wealth, honour, and life” (Prov 22:4). On the contrary, pride results in defeat and shame. Any spiritual life that is not based on humility will be an empty one. This is because such a Christian will only work for himself, and without regards 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. A humble person is always ready to ask for guidance from God and from others. He is also ready to listen and learn from others. It takes humility to say please, and, 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 honoured and esteemed deliver me!”