It is our natural tendency to look for comfort so much so that when we are invited to a party, we usually look for a better seat where we think we are more comfortable not knowing that there are times when we take a seat that is not intended for us but is rather reserved for another visitor who maybe more honorable than us. Then what the Lord Jesus told us in the Gospel happens to us. The host of the party tells us to give the seat to that visitor and with shame, we go to the lower seat. Indeed, the teaching of Jesus is very applicable to us even though we are more than 2,000 years ahead of the time of the Lord.
The lesson in the gospel is no other than “humility.” Jesus Christ is teaching us to be humble, wherever place we are, in whatever situation we are in, we have to be humble. Whether we are at home or in our working place, whether we are having our recreation or buying our commodities in the market, whether we are in front of our boss or of our employees, whether we are rich or poor, famous or unknown, influential or not, we must always be humble.
Truly, humility is not an easy thing. It takes a great effort on our part to be humble because we need to sacrifice our own ego and desire just to be humble in front of others. We have to note that one thing is to appear humble and another thing is to be humble. What Christ is telling us is to BE humble and not to APPEAR humble. The former is simply to pretend to be humble while the latter is to become humble oneself. Certainly, it is easier to appear humble in front of others. In fact, many of us are guilty of this. When we cannot be humble but we want to be humble in front of a specific person, what we do is appear humble. Our action of humility is not genuine since we may be showing humble acts but our thoughts and desires are actually in abhorrence or repugnance of the person in front of us.
Genuine humility comes from the heart. It is brought about by the conviction that the person in front of us is not only an image and likeness of God but also a child of God. For this reason, we consider a person with high esteem regardless of whether such person is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, influential or not, and famous or unknown. As long as he is a person, he deserves respect and we give him such respect that is due to him. With this, our actions of humility are genuine since they are accompanied by respect and love for that person. And such respect inspires us to do some actions of service toward that person. We serve that person not only because of the respect that we give to him as a human being but most especially because of the love we have for him as the presence of Jesus Christ who said: “Whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do it to me.”
Humility is even more difficult because of the fact that we are created to be great, in fact, to become “gods” as we are children of God. It is inherent in our being to desire greatness. The problem is because we are in this earthly and materialistic world, we think that greatness is essentially connected with power, fame, and money. We believe that the more we are powerful, famous, or rich, the greater we are. But then true greatness is to become more like God. And God is not a material being. The image given to us by God is no other than Jesus, His only begotten Son, so much so that when we see Jesus, we see God.
Jesus Christ then is the perfect figure of God’s humility. We become more like God when we become more like Jesus. For this reason, we are called Christians because we are supposed to follow Jesus and be like Him. To be a real Christian is to be Christ-like. The question is, are we like Jesus Christ? Let us follow the teachings of Jesus and live His examples. Jesus showed His humility by serving others whenever there was a chance for Him to do so. In fact, He almost had no time for Himself because He was always at the service of others. Let us constantly pray to Him and ask His grace and guidance to be always humble in front of others and to be of service to them whenever possible.
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (August 28, 2022)
Sir 3:17-18/Heb 12:18-19, 22-24/Lk 14:1, 7-14