Humility means living the truth (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sept. 28, 2014)

That 2nd Reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians is so beautiful; it can provide fruit for meditation for days and even weeks. The description of Jesus that always catches my heart is how humble he was. In Paul’s words, Jesus did not make a big deal out of equality with God, though he could have. Instead, he humbled himself, being a slave, a servant, or to use Pope Francis’ words: one who had the smell of the sheep on him.

Humility is a forgotten virtue today. Success, wealth and power are the measure of a person’s worth, and humble people are by and large fools.

I beg to differ. Who has the greatest impact on your life: the Hollywood stars, the big politicians, those who think they’re all that, or the truly humble people who have the capacity to make us feel good about ourselves and make us happy that we know them? Among my most prized mementoes are 9 objects that were once in the possession of the most significant people in my life. They look like something you’d find in a flea market, but for me, they are relics. The common characteristic of those people: their humility, their lack of pretension, their acceptance of who they are, and above all, their gratitude.

Many of us learned that humility meant dissing ourselves, saying that we were not quite good enough, shrugging off compliments. In reality, “I’m no good, I’m nothing special” is false humility.

Humility means living the truth of who we are. Humility recognizes that God is God, that I am not god. It sees God as the giver of every single good gift that we have in life. The only thing we possess that is of our own making is our sinfulness. Humility is marked by a constant attitude of gratitude, not just to God, but to all those who are part of our lives. Even those who rub us the wrong way are gifts of God, for they sandpaper us into a more perfect image and likeness of God.

Humility is also defined by a desire to share the good we have received from God. God’s gifts are not meant for me alone. They are meant for all the earth. And that is why I am happy to have you as a companion on the journey, for you share yourself with Holy Cross!

Be God’s smile for someone today!

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