Cycle [C] 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Sir. 35:15-17, 20-22; 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk. 18:9-14

One hot afternoon on a beach, people noticed a young girl drowning. They quickly rescued her. The little girl was unconscious. An old man from a nearby cottage hurriedly reached for the girl laid down on the seashore. As the old man was about to hold the girl, a furious young man warned the people surrounding the girl to step aside, including the old man.

“I am trained to do CPR. Stay out of this! Let me do it!” the young man exclaimed.

The old man stood up and stepped behind the guy and watched quietly while the latter was performing CPR for the girl.

After almost a minute, the little girl regained consciousness. The people around them felt relieved and began applauding the guy. The old man, who looks very happy, gratefully congratulated the guy as well.

After two hours, however, the guy who saved the girl suddenly felt too much fatigue, experienced difficulty in breathing and became unconscious. A few minutes later, he woke up in an ambulance rushing him to the nearest hospital. Beside him was the old man he saw earlier at the beach now checking his pulse rate. The old man did the CPR on him while he was unconscious. This time he learned that the old man is a doctor.

“Why didn’t you tell me you’re a doctor?” he asked.

The doctor just smiled and answered: “It doesn’t matter to me whether you call me a doctor or not. A precious life is in danger.  We had the same goal, and that was to save the girl. Nothing can surpass the feeling that you have just saved another life.”

The man humbly said: “Well, you have just saved two more lives today.”

Today’s reading speak about the great virtue of humility. The first reading says, "The prayers of the humble touch the Lord; they pierce His Sacred Heart until the Most High responds by executing judgment to bring justice to the righteous. "Indeed, the Lord will not delay.”

Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke also speaks of humility. As you all heard in the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the Pharisee judged himself as righteous, viewing others in contempt. At a distance, the tax collector prayed to God, asking for His mercy because he is a sinner. Ashamed of his life, he would not even look up towards heaven. He only beat his breast, such being symbolic of saying, "Mea Culpa." The words of the tax collector echoed the words that are found in Psalm 51, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."

The necessity to humble oneself is echoed over and over in the Holy Bible. In the First Letter of Peter, we read, "All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time."

When Naaman humbled himself, he was able to witness the healing hand of God through the advice of the servant. God asked Solomon what he wanted to have. Solomon, being the humble person that he was, only asked God for wisdom to rule and lead God’s people. God was very pleased upon hearing this and granted him wisdom, along with all the other things he already possessed. King Manasseh proves the forgiveness of God to those who are humble. Jesus washing the feet of His Disciples is the perfect example of humility. 

Humility is something that is learned, not taught and only those who know the true beauty of it can understand it. A humble man brings humility where ever he goes and never has to apologize for being just that. Humility is growth and maturity. It is a quality that is important and worth learning when living life. Being humble is what will keep people you love in your life. It is what will make you appreciate all of the special moments you come across. Humility is a natural quality of beauty. It is something that you can speak a thousand times on without saying a word.

Sam Rayburn served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress for seventeen years.  As the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn wielded incredible power and prestige. He was third in the line of succession to the presidency.

One day, he found out that the teenage daughter of a reporter friend had tragically died. Early the next morning, Sam Rayburn knocked on the door of his friend.  When the door opened, Rayburn asked if there was anything he could do.  His friend stammered and replied, “I don’t think there is anything you can do. We are making all the arrangements.”

“Well, have you had your coffee this morning?” Rayburn asked. 

“No. We haven’t had time.” said the grieving man.

“Well,” the Speaker of the House replied, “I can at least make the coffee.”

As he watched this powerful man make him coffee, the father suddenly remembered something. “Mr. Speaker, I thought you were supposed to be having breakfast at the White House this morning.”

“Well, I was, but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was in trouble, and I couldn’t come.”

Sam Rayburn turned down breakfast with the President of the United States to make coffee for a grieving friend. Great Humility can be exercised by people of great power.

Jesus’ crucifixion changed the way people understood greatness and humility. The cross of Christ was contrary to the understanding of greatness in the ancient world. The early Christians realized: “If the greatest man we have ever known sacrificed his life on the cross, then greatness must consist in willing sacrifice and holding power for the good of others.”

There are many ways we can practice humility in our daily life – at home, in our work place and in our society. Always be grateful for what we have achieved in life. Show gratitude to our parents, spouse, friends, and well-wishers.  Gratitude teaches us humility. Spend time listening to others.  Ask for help when we need it. Look on the bright side of life. Ignore the negative actions of others. Always be polite. And God will be with us. This is the message of the readings today.