A theme that we hear about in both our first reading and in our Gospel today is humility. There are at least a thousand different true directions that a homily on humility could take, so I would just like to focus on one aspect of humility. Humility can be understood as not being afraid of being humiliated.
I was listening to Catholic Radio this week, and a person brought up that particular aspect of humility as not being afraid of being humiliated.
And that struck me as so true. So often, I am afraid of being humiliated, and while, since becoming a priest, I have not lied to avoid being humiliated, I certainly have in some instances not been as forthcoming as I could have been in order to avoid being humiliated.
And so I think one question for all of us, including myself, for an examination of conscience is “do I avoid being humiliated?”
And lest this homily sound like some random reflection on humility, I think it is important to call to mind that Jesus EMBRACED being humiliated. He is 100 percent human like us in every way, and yet
He allowed himself to be humiliated by the spitting and the punches of the soldiers whom He created,
He allowed himself to be humiliated by getting whipped with cords and crowned with thorns
He also allowed himself to be humiliated by being stripped of all of his clothing in front of his Mom and everyone else who saw His Crucifixion.
And Jesus’s death on a cross was considered the ultimate humiliation for a faithful Jew (which Jesus was) because Deuteronomy chapter 21 says a person who is put to death on a tree is cursed
Humility is the antidote to pride, and so often our fear of being humiliated is rooted in our pride. May we never run from an opportunity to embrace humiliation. May we never lie or tell only part of the truth in order to avoid humiliation.
Saint Augustine, who we always remember every August 28th in the Catholic Church said “Let us follow Christ’s paths which He established, above all the path of humility”
Avoiding humiliation, whether in our marriage, our family, our parish, or in our larger community, is a great temptation. But let us not avoid humiliation but rather embrace those moments head on, because Jesus first embraced all of His humiliation.