22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Have you ever been with a drunkard before? If you have, then you will know that a person who is drunk will never admit that he is drunk. They are usually in denial because they are not in control of their senses. Similarly, a really humble person will also deny that he or she is humble, the difference is, this person is sober and is in control of his or her senses.
Today’s Gospel talks about humility, not to exalt ourselves because if we do, we will be brought down by God. God knows who we are so we do not have to pretend or to tell people how humble we are. Thomas Merton once said that pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. It makes us real because true humility will remind us of who we really are before God.
We need to differentiate between true and false humility. True humility means we truly believe that we are not humble, false humility is when we deny that we are humble but is secretly proud of it. When that happens, we are not being true to ourselves and to others and so we project a false image of ourselves.
I know of a few priests who claim that they are humble, well… even Donald Trump claims that he is very humble. Personally I think these people are just looking for attention and validation. True humility does not need validation because the only person that we need to “impress” is God and no one else.
C.S. Lewis said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. That is why in the second part of the Gospel, Jesus says that we need to be charitable to those who are not able to repay us. When we give more thought to others, the experience will lead us to the path of true humility. This is also why the Church and our Legion encourages corporal works of mercy. This helps to cultivate the virtue of humility.
If we are too full of ourselves, there would be no space for God to enter. When we put others before ourselves, we allow ourselves to decrease and this in turn will allow God to increase. That is the true at of humility, knowing that we are allowing God to work through us instead of promoting ourselves with our works.
Saint Augustine posed this quote, “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Without humility we are nothing but empty gongs making a lot of noise but with nothing inside.