HUMILITY: THE FOUNDATION OF EFFECTIVE PRAYER

⏰Thirtiethmother-teresa-quote-humility-jpg Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Sirarch 35:12c-14, 16-18b; Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19 and 23 (R.v.7a); 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14

HUMILITY: THE FOUNDATION OF EFFECTIVE PRAYER

Last Sunday, we learnt about two very important dispositions that are needed for our prayers to be very effective. Those important dispositions include perseverance and persistence.????

Today, the three readings we have in our liturgy, in a dramatic way, bring out an important virtue that must accompany those dispositions for our prayers to be effective. That is the virtue of humility.????

We must also remember that last Sunday, we came to the understanding that our salvation does not so much depend on our effort since it is a GIFT of God to us and not what we MERIT through our effort. The first reading from the book of Sirach explains that in a vivid way.????????

If not for Gods intervention, the poor man would not have had any place with the rich. Hence, God’s justice is seen in the fact that he upholds the poor and the oppressed without showing partiality to any group.⚖

The only one who has the power to do this is the one who has power to do all things and from who all good things come to us (cf. Jam 1:17). An appreciation of the fact that all we have and are come from him is all that is required for us to continue to receive blessings from God.????

That appreciation of our total dependence on the grace of God was obviously lacking in the life of the Pharisee that we heard of in the Gospel reading of today. Left to him, he has WORKED HARD to be holy and so DESERVE REWARD from God.????

It would seem that St. Paul portrayed the same thing in the Second Reading. In actual fact, St. Paul equally expressed that he had WORKED HARD and DESERVE REWARD from God (cf. 2 Tim 4:7-8). However, the difference between St. Paul and the Pharisee is that St. Paul thinks that this reward would come as a GIFT FROM THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE: “From now on, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me” (2 Tim 4:8) but the Pharisee thinks that this reward would come as a MERIT OF HIS EFFORT, “I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers; I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get (Luke 12:11-12).????

Christ tells us that even when we have all that we are told to do (as might be the case with the Pharisee in the Gospel), we should rather say, “we are mere servants, we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10).????

The First Reading tells us that the prayer of the humble pierces the cloud (Sirach 35:17) whereas the Gospel tells us that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:14).????

That is why Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit (John 12:24). In the same way, anyone who remains full of himself cannot bear much fruit.????

Jesus already gave us a good example to follow through his kenosis. “Though he was in the form of God, he did not claim equality with God but humbled him to take up the nature of a servant, in human form, and even more than that, he subjected himself under the authority of man, even to death. God then exalted him higher than all things in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (cf. Phil 2:6-10). It is those who are humble and poor in spirit that would inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:3).????

As we continue in this pilgrimage of faith, may God, the merciful judge, teach us the value of humility and grant us forgiveness. And may we learn from Jesus how to be meek and humble of heart so that we may bear abundant fruit and our prayers found favour in the sight of God. Amen????????

I wish you a gracefilled Sunday. It is well with you.

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