Monday, 1st Week of Advent
We have stepped into the threshold of the season of advent, a season which reminds us about the coming of Jesus the King of kings and Lord of Lords. His birth was the supreme manifestation of the noble virtue ‘humility’ which has lost its meaning and importance in this modern era of power and possession. Winston Churchill once awarded the Victoria Cross to an Air force sergeant, who had climbed out onto the wing of his bomber while it was 13000 feet above the sea with only a rope attached to his waist. His effort saved both the plane and its crew. At the ceremony the man was so overwhelmed by Churchill’s presence that he could barely speak. “You must be feeling very humble and awkward in my presence”, Churchill observed; “yes, sir”, the sergeant replied. “Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours”. Churchill humbly responded.
In today’s Gospel Jesus presents before us a model of humility. Jesus speaks the conforming words. “Truly I tell you no one in Israel have I found such faith”. Jesus presents before us the centurion who manifested his humility through his faith. A man of higher authority asking Jesus to cure his servant and expresses his unworthiness to have Lord Jesus at his house. In the modern understanding it may seem that he is in a mental trauma. “Lord I am not worthy to have you under my roof”. These are the strongest words which express in its fullness the meaning of humility. Humility I would say is the bloom and the beauty of holiness. If humility were to be the first priority for a person to be canonized I would add this centurion in the list of saints.
God has two thrones one is the highest heaven, the other is the lowliest heart. The centurion who has the humility has possessed Jesus in his heart. It is a moment for each one of us to reflect whether I possess the crown of God in my heart, have I prepared a place in my heart for Jesus to sit on the throne of humility. The protagonist of today’s Gospel, the Centurion teaches each one of us a great lesson, humility is forgetfulness. Forgetting himself and his needs he requests Jesus to heal his servant. Humble persons are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves. In the first letter of St. Peter 5:5 we read “clothe yourself with humility” in your dealing with one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. If we check through various dictionaries we can find various meanings of humility. But, today we have a person who showed the meaning of humility through a simple and humble act which amazes Jesus.
Above all we have Jesus the perfect model of humility who showed the greatest sign of humility on the cross. Jesus had a humble birth. Lived a life of humility and had a humble death. Humility is a bag into which Christ puts the riches of his grace. Let us possess this bag and receive the spirit of Jesus. Let us pray for the grace to put on Jesus, and be the messengers of compassion, kindness, meekness, long-suffering and humility. Let us strive towards to do what the Lord requires from each one of us, to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.