In speaking with people today , the words humilityand being humble aren’t heard of very often. They may be used in the homilies on Sundays, but, unfortunately, many don’t seem to know what true humility really is. Humble people are rarely recognized in our society today. Rather, people are often recognized for their accomplishments or evidence of wealth. Many people will readily boast of their good standing in society.
In reviewing the word ” humble ” in the Webster’s dictionary, the word is defined as ” marked by modesty or meekness, respectfully deferential, lowly and unpretentious,….” None of these definitions has the same meaning that humility is given in scripture commentaries. These state that to be humble is” to have a sense of one’s limitations, knowing who we are, not more, not less, to present ourselves truthfully, with our limitations and gifts “.
To understand the Gospel today we need to know something about the culture of that day, Jesus is present in the home of some leading Pharisees. Those present are observing him very closely. Jesus knows what is in the hearts of the Pharisees and how they usually seek The higher places when going to homes to dine.
At the beginning of Mass we are reminded about our gifts and graces that God had given us. We are also asked to recall our sinfulness and seek pardon for how we have conducted ourselves. Again, before we receive Jesus in Eucharist, we are reminded of our sinfulness in the prayer Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
We are given example of humility in the Gospel story of the centurion who asks for healing for his daughter, but tells Jesus to only say the word and his daughter will be healed. Our prayer immediately before communion is comprised of the centurion’s words – Lord , I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed. Jesus states that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, but those who humble themselves will be exalted. We choose to believe these words – let Jesus exalt us, may we never exalt ourselves.
May God bless you all,
Your brother in Christ