First Reading: Ru 2:1-3,8-11 4:13-17
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12
The Responsibility of Humility
Yesterday we talked about how forgiveness is an act of love. Forgiveness, too, is one act of humility, which is the main topic of today’s Gospel.
Pride is a very dangerous thing to have. On one hand, it is normal and okay to be proud of our accomplishments. On the other, being too proud prevents us from allowing our gifts and accomplishments to inspire others.
Growing up I have been blessed with proficiency in school. Given that I did not have any other talents, I held on to being good in school as my thing. I held on to it too much that I started seeing people who have other talents but not as good in school as I am beneath me. I ridiculed them and thought that they wouldn’t amount to much in life.
That was a very prideful and naive assumption. When I got into one of the best universities, I also treated others who didn’t make it to my school with contempt. This continued on until my first few years working.
This pride gave me a sense of entitlement that prevented me from getting the actual work done. I did not want to associate with my coworkers who graduated from what I thought were lesser schools. I did not take kindly when my boss criticized my work. At the back of my mind, they were all trying to bring me down because they were jealous of me. This went on and on until I have completely pushed them away and no amount of exceptional work on my end would have changed how they looked at me. It eventually set my career back by about five years.
Pride prevents us from doing the work necessary to be successful because it gives us the mindset that we are entitled to things that we might not actually deserve. It turns us into abusive people who think that they deserve everything and must be treated as such.
Pride also prevents us from doing the work necessary to make others around us successful. Because we see others as beneath us, we fail to see the good in them. We miss out on the chance to teach them what we know, and we miss out on the chance to learn from them what they know.
To be humble is sometimes difficult. But as someone once told me, the Lord gives us challenges not because He wants us to suffer, but because He wants us to grow. He loves us so much that He wants us to receive all of His blessings. And to receive these blessings, we must be ready to handle the responsibility so that we can fulfill His will admirably. Humility is our capacity to accept that we need to get our heads down, focus on doing the work in front of us and not expecting any reward in return. The Lord will reward us in any which way He wants, but as long as we do His will, we will continue to grow as persons and our growth will continue to inspire others without having to be loud about it. And that I think is a good enough reward for me.
“Whoever is greater among you shall be your minister. But whoever has exalted himself, shall be humbled. And whoever has humbled himself, shall be exalted (Mt 23:11-12).”