- Bill Miller
August 28, 2022, Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a Luke 14:1, 7-14
Humility - our readings today teach us about this wonderful, often overlooked, frequently misunderstood virtue. Look carefully, especially in the reading from Sirach and the gospel passage from Luke, for specific references to humility.
To fully understand these messages we must first understand the true meaning of the word “humble”. Webster’s New World Dictionary (4th. Ed.) defines it as: “Having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings…modest”. From a spiritual perspective, this definition simply reminds us that we are not God; for only God is without defects or shortcomings. To be truly humble does not mean to consider oneself unworthy of respect, flawed or bad. While God always calls on us to improve, to become more “godlike” in our words and deeds, God loves us as we are, and considers us wonderful in his sight. We are, after all, created in God’s image and likeness.
To be humble is to be truthful about oneself. To demonstrate accurate self-knowledge and appropriate courtesy. A wise teacher taught me a valuable lesson about humility many years ago. I had done a good job on a project that had been assigned to me. The teacher complimented me, and I sloughed off the compliment by responding: “Oh, it was nothing, anyone could have done it.” My teacher was quick and concise in her reaction to me. In effect, she said: “Don’t dismiss my compliment. You did a very good job and I want to affirm that. By contradicting my assessment of your work you are demeaning me and demonstrating “false humility”. Please give me credit for knowing that you deserve a compliment…take it to heart…and say ‘Thank you’.” I have never forgotten that lesson.
By the same token, it is important not to call unnecessary attention to our accomplishments. As we strive each day to act in accordance with the teachings of Christ, let us allow our actions to speak for themselves. The Lord will do the rest. And we will be recognized as God’s disciples.
Remember, true humility requires that we claim, develop and show gratitude for the gifts God has given us, as well as recognizing our shortcomings. This is all part of becoming the persons God wants us to be!