St John's Q&A

Sunday, September 02, 2007

22nd Sunday - homily

We hear the theme of humility in today’s 1st reading and Gospel. The book of Sirach says to “clothe yourselves with humility”. And Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that “the one who humbles himself will be exalted”. Just what is humility? We don’t hear the word humility much anymore or see too many examples in our modern world. Humility is synonymous with honesty, where the person is honest about himself and acknowledges that everything he has comes from God.

The opposite of the virtue of humility is the sin of pride. We hear much more about that and see many more examples of that in the news, especially lately. In pride, the person has a dishonest view of himself, thinking that he is better than he is and taking credit for what God has done. I’ve always found the relationship between humility and pride to be an interesting one. It can be circular – it takes humility to admit that I am proud…but, then I become proud of my humility. But, it’s humble to say that I’m proud of my humility…!

Anyway, it’s a huge point to consider whether we’re living humility or pride. Jesus makes it clear that humility is necessary for salvation. Also, Sirach 10 says that “pride is the root of all sin”. In order to better understand the difference between humility and pride in our lives, I have compiled a list of examples to show the difference between the two. If you wish to add your own examples, please do so on the blog site where I post my homily.

Let us remember what Scripture says in 1 Peter 5 and Proverbs:
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.

The humble person is honest about him or herself, and acknowledges that everything he has is a result of God’s grace. The proud person takes credit for what God has done and thinks everything he has is a result of his efforts only.

The humble person can say, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”. The proud person can’t.

The humble person can admit when he’s wrong. The proud person always has to be right.

The humble person tries to reconcile and forgive past debts. The proud person holds grudges.

The person living humility is prone to patience. The person living in pride is prone to anger.

The humble person is able to receive gifts from others with gratitude. The proud person has a very hard time accepting anything good from anyone.

The humble person tries to glorify God with his life. The proud person glorifies himself.

The humble person is a team player. The proud person only cares about himself.

The person living humility tries to build up others. The person living in pride tears down others through gossip.

The person living humility has a realistic and honest view of his strengths and weaknesses. The person living in pride overestimates his strengths and underestimates his weaknesses.

The humble person lives moderation and knows his limits when it comes to controlling his desires. The proud person thinks he can handle anything, especially when it comes to things of the flesh.

The humble person imitates Christ by accepting his cross with faith, hope, and love. The proud person says, “why me?”

The Catholic living humility goes to Confession regularly, acknowledging that he is a sinner. The one living in pride thinks that he doesn’t need to go.

For the humble Christian, God is first. The proud one says “me first”.

The humble Catholic acknowledges and abides by God’s Commandments. The proud one thinks he knows better than God.

The humble Catholic acknowledges and abides by the teaching authority of the Church. The proud person thinks he knows better than the Church.

The person living humility conducts his affairs with modesty and meekness. The proud person brings attention to himself.

The humble person prays regularly, in good times and in bad. The proud person prays only when he needs something.

As Jesus says in the Gospel, the humble person will be exalted. The proud person will be humbled.

The humble person acknowledges that he needs Christ. The proud person has no need for a Savior.

Those living in humility are open to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and try to center their lives on the Eucharist. They acknowledge their lowliness before God and see themselves as among the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind who have been invited to share in this banquet. They have their eyes on the heavenly banquet where God will reward their humility with an exalted place in his Kingdom.


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