Aug. 28, 2016 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
The Book of Sirach tells us that the mind of a sage appreciates proverbs. The readings this weekend speak of humility, so let’s reflect on some proverbs that speak to us about humility.
Sirach says humble yourself and you will find God. Jesus says take the lowest place for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
In the Second Book of Chronicles, the Lord God speaks to his people saying, If my people who are called by name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord delivers a humble people, but those with haughty eyes are brought low. The Lord leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his ways. And the Lord takes delight in his people, adorning the humble with victory.
Humility is the opposite of pride, and according to what we read in Scripture, it is a state of mind that is pleasing to God. And so we are challenged to practice greater humility in our lives.
The Book of Proverbs tells us that when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but wisdom is with the humble. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
The Great Christian author C. S. Lewis writes, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
The proud think of themselves and their accomplishments. The humble know their good works but also understand that bragging is unbecoming.
The need to seek honor is a great temptation among those who have accomplished great things. And the biggest challenge after success is learning not to boast or to brag, but learning, rather, to keep quiet about it.
Madeleine L’Engle has some insight into the role God plays in the work we do. She says, in a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our...lack of qualification, then there is no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.
Always the pragmatist, Mother Theresa gives some practice tips on a few ways we can practice humility:
Mind your own business.
Stop trying to manage other people’s affairs.
Accept contradiction and correction cheerfully.
Pass over the mistakes of others.
Accept insults and injuries.
Accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
Try to be kind and gentle ever under provocation.
Never to stand on your own dignity.
And always choose the hardest path.
And finally, C. S. Lewis reminds us, As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud (person) is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.