LK 14: 7-14


“Look at the variety of saints and find out how they arrived at Heaven. You will learn that the apostles got there especially through love, the martyrs through their constancy, the doctors through meditation, the confessors through mortification, the virgins through purity of heart, but all of them through humility.” – St. Francis de Sales


One of the qualities the Lord Jesus explicitly taught his disciples was humility. This was the special trait he wanted to see in each of them. Humility of heart would be the defining mark of a true follower of Christ. In the gospel the Lord Jesus encourages us to take the lower place and not assume that we are favored or preferred above others. In addition to this he invites us to manifest true humility by our charity to the needy, the poor, the marginalized people around us.


The beginning of the gospel narrative offers us an interesting detail. Jesus was not teaching the crowds. Jesus was not in the company of multitudes of followers who were mostly poor and simple folks, and thus, naturally inclined to be humble due to their life situations. The Lord was in a comfortable home of a leading Pharisee. This man must have been rich, educated, respected in the community. And the Lord was not in this man’s house praying or fasting or preaching. He was there to eat, to dine, to feast with him and his family and friends.


In this way, we see that the Lord, though he was inclined to favor the poor whose company he actively sought, also extended his friendship with the rich, powerful and influential members of the society. He did not discriminate in his heart. He did not judge people due to their weakness. He did not isolate himself from those whose lives were far from his message. Jesus’ heart was inclusive, ready to embrace all men and women.


Through this, the Lord lived his own message of humility. He did not consider himself holier than the Pharisees. He did not detach himself from their grasp. While he gave them straightforward advice on humility, the Lord was careful not to alienate them by depriving them of his friendship. Jesus was a true pastor, a genuine shepherd. He lived what he preached. He exemplified the message he conveyed. Be humble all of you, he seemed to be saying. Be humble by being open to everyone since every person is poor in God’s eyes and all are in need of his grace and mercy.

Let us pray for humility and not only talk about it. Let us strive to be humble through acts of gentleness and sincere friendship with the people around us, without exclusion and without discrimination.

Those who think they are “holier-than-others” end up being holier than none!