Humility is one of God’s favorite virtues. Jesus Himself said, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Humility does not mean putting oneself down, but rather recognizing our own weaknesses and acknowledging that our strengths and successes are gifts from God. When we are humble, we know how to appreciate other people’s goodness and talents, to ask for help when we need it, and to help others when we can. When we are humble, we acknowledge that God is our Creator whom we must love and obey, and we recognize that all people are brothers and sisters, equally loved by our common Father. Put simply in the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “humility is the truth.”
It was a lack of humility that moved the kings of Israel to disobey God’s prophets, thus leading their people down the path that led to defeat and exile. That experience helped them to rediscover their need for God’s protection and guidance; the psalm today reflects that attitude of dependence, trust and gratitude. As we hear in the first reading, once they turned back to God with humility, He brought them back into their land and promised to restore their prosperity and peace.
The Lord’s apostles were also challenged when it came to living this virtue of humility. The Gospel today describes how they argued among themselves about who was the greatest, and they were jealous of other people who worked miracles in the name of Jesus. The Lord gently rebuked them, but it would take a long time for them to really learn the message that true greatness lies in service to others, not in fame, fortune, or power. They did not yet understand that Jesus had come to give up His life for them, indeed, for all of us, becoming the least of men in order to offer even the worst sinners the chance to become children of God.
May God grant us all the gift of humility, the gift of seeing ourselves and others as God sees us. Under His guidance we may all help each other along the path to His heavenly kingdom, for the praise and glory of His name.