16th Sunday after Pentecost 28.9.14 Humility
God makes us all and we believe He has a special purpose for each one.
We have a role to play that is unique to each person. Apart from any role each person is a unique soul and important to God, even if not valued by other people.
So every homeless person that dies in some isolated place is of great importance to God.
For our part we all want to serve God, and be useful to humanity.
Sometimes we wonder why God does not give us more gifts so that we could be more useful.
For instance, if we had more knowledge we could cure cancer, or solve other problems, or invent new things.
We would all like to be more gifted than we are. Maybe brighter, better-looking, more capable in general, braver, maybe richer. And younger… and on and on we could think of qualities we would like more of.
And most of these we don’t get! We have to put up with how we are, and that is usually very limited.
Some people are exceptionally gifted, and that is, as the word says, ‘exceptional’. That means everyone else is not exceptionally gifted.
We are probably part of ‘everyone else’, not setting the world on fire.
One reason we can see why Almighty God does not entrust us with all these gifts is to keep us humble.
There is a danger that if we had too many abilities we could give way to pride and use those abilities to work against the will of God.
Human history gives many cases of talented people advancing their own cause and not the Kingdom of God. All of history’s tyrants, for example.
Of all the qualities we have, the most important is that we be in union with God Himself.
Union with God is our life itself. We are dead spiritually if we do not have that.
I could be the best tennis player, the smartest scientist, the most witty conversationalist; but I am not even alive if I do not have God’s life in my soul.
To be aware of this is to be humble, the quality highlighted in today’s parable (take the lowest place).
Humility is knowledge of God’s infinite greatness and my own nothingness by comparison.
We all take the lowest place in relation to God Himself. We do not concern ourselves with comparisons with other people.
Others may be more or less gifted than I am. Let them be. My task is to be exactly who and what God wants me to be.
This is the best way I can serve humanity; also the best way to find happiness.
The saints give us the example. All saints are noted for their humility. Our Lady, the greatest saint, was also the most humble.
She was sinless, meaning she never opposed her will to that of God. Every sin is an act of pride on our part.
Mary’s humility enabled her to be totally an instrument in God’s hands and meant that He could entrust her with such important tasks as she had.
If we are truly humble we can expect to be entrusted with more gifts (cf parable of talents).
If God can see that we are capable of basing everything on His will He is more likely to trust us with greater things.
If we break from His authority we will lose whatever gifts we had.
It is hard for us to be indifferent to human esteem. We would all like to be thought well of by others.
But here again we are far more likely to be esteemed if we are in right relationship with God.
We will then be more useful to others because we have more grace working within us and we will achieve greater things.