THE HUMILITY CHALLENGE. HOMILY FOR THE 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A). Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

STAY HUMBLE

Once upon a time, a university undergraduate gets a vacation job in an oil servicing company. He resumes at the company as the personal assistant to the Chief Executive Officer for the summer. Next day, the boss (CEO) tells the boy that he would accompany him to an interview for a contract the company is seeking at the largest oil company in the country and that he should clean up very well as he would be riding in an expensive car for the first time in his life. The young man appreciates the offer and goes ahead to prepare.

The boss brings along the most expensive car in his fleet for the interview and asks the undergraduate to sit in the front and close the door gently while he sits at the back as a chauffeur drives the car. Halfway to the venue of the interview, the boss orders the driver to fill the gas as he would like the vehicle engine to be running throughout the duration of the meeting while parking at a strategic place.

Unfortunately, after the purchase of gas, the car could not start. The boss is frustrated and begins to curse the hell out of everyone as his “show” is about to go down. The young undergraduate sees his frustration and quietly places a phone call. In five minutes, the latest version (three years ahead) of the CEO’s car drives in, and the young man tells his boss that his dad has come to take them to the interview since they are running late.

The CEO becomes speechless as he enters the car to discover that the man who has come to pick him to the interview is the owner of the largest oil company in the country. Furthermore, he is head of the panel that would interview him. The CEO comes face to face with a humility challenge.

The next day at work, the CEO sees the young man and asks him why he did not disclose that he is the son of the richest oil magnet in the country and why he is not working in one of his father’s numerous firms. The young man replies and says: “my dad tells us every day to be humble in everything and at all times and that it is the secret of his success.” He also says to him that his father would not allow him to work in any of his organizations as he wants him to go through life without special treatment as the son of a wealthy man.

The First Reading today (Zechariah 9:9-10) reminds us of our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The King of kings and Lord of lords enters the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey (ass) alongside a colt.  What is very significant here is the fact that the great one decides to ride on something of a lower standard. Kings ride on horses and camels, not on donkeys that usually carry loads.

Our Lord’s ride on a donkey demonstrates that he came to carry our weight of sin and he does so with deep humility. The word of God tells us more precisely that though he was in the form of God, he did not count on his equality with God but humbles himself taking the form of a slave (Phil.2:6).

The Gospel Reading begins with our Lord’s gracious thanksgiving to God for hiding “THESE THINGS” from the wise and the learned and revealing them to little ones. You will be as curious, as I am, about what “THESE THINGS” could be. We can search for the answer from the statement that follows immediately.

In the subsequent verses, our Lord extends an invitation to those who labor and are burdened with a promise of giving them rest. Furthermore, he tells us to take up his yoke and learn from him for he is meek and humble of heart.

If we take a reflective look at that passage, we could see some words that could be meaningful for us if we put them together: LABOR, BURDENED, YOKE, LEARN, MEEK AND HUMBLE. We can decipher from the above that our Lord is saying that If we learn to be meek and humble (like him) there is no labor, burden nor yoke we cannot contain. Hence the secret or hidden things are meekness humility.

Humility poses a challenge as well as a chance for us. St. Peter tells us (1 Pet. 5:6) to humble ourselves under the mighty arm of God so that at the proper time he would exalt us. Humility goes before exaltation just as pride goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18). The Apostle James (4:6) recalls the books of Proverbs (3:34) where it says that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

How can we positively scale through this humility challenge that the liturgy of today places before us? St. Paul gives us an answer in the Second Reading of today (Romans 8:9, 11-13). According to him, we live either in the flesh, or we live in the spirit. Life in the flesh leads us to worldliness and pride. On the contrary, when we live in the spirit, we are quickly drawn to be genuinely meek and humble.

As we march into a new week, may we open our hearts and minds to be humble in all things as we pay attention to these:

  • No matter the position you have, someone is greater than you; be humble.
  • No matter how rich you are, someone is richer than you; be humble.
  • No matter how fortunate you are, someone is more fortunate than you, be humble.
  • No matter how important you are, someone is more important than you; be humble.
  • No matter how intelligent you are, someone is more intelligent than you; be humble.

Finally, there is the need for us to know that we are nothing without the grace of God and if we think we are something when we are nothing we deceive ourselves (Galatians. 6:3). But when we come to God in our nothingness he can turn it into something else.

Have a great week ahead and may the grace of God lead you to the noble paths of humility.

Fr. Bonnie.

 

4 Comments on “THE HUMILITY CHALLENGE. HOMILY FOR THE 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A). Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

  1. very interesting homily. humility is necessary in one’s life because no matter who you think you are someone out there is bigger than you. God please give us the grace of humility especially in our various communities and to other people around us. amen. have a blessed week ahead FR Bonnie

  2. Amen! Thank you for reminding us once more of the importance of humility.

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