Pride and humility

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Fr. Anthony Le

If pride is the root cause of all evil things, then humility is the sure way of salvation. If you and I take a look at the bible itself, every destruction, every evil thing done, has to do with pride. Lucifer, an angel of light, so prideful that he could not submit himself to the yoke of the almighty father. He rebels against him, he turns dark. Satan, his name, tempted Adam and Eve. Our pride wanted to know just like God, knows things good and evil, and cost humility, the original state of holiness. then the tower of Babel, we want to reach as high as heaven. We want to build the towers that are so tall, and as a result, disagreement, disunity, they scattered. Peter was so prideful that he thought his way was actually better than Jesus' way. Jesus wanted to carry the cross all the way to the end, to redeem mankind. Peter wants a political king. Judas thought he could incite Jesus to commit political uprising, and sold him off for 30 pieces of silver. He thought his way was better than Jesus' way. Pride my dear brothers and sisters, the root cause of all destruction and evils in the world, dare we say.

And yet humility on the other hand, is the sure way of salvation. notice what happened first. Humility is rooted in the holy trinity, rooted in the holy trinity. Our heavenly father loves you and me so much that he sends his only son. Our father looks upon us with great mercy. and our lord Jesus, even though God himself, emptied himself and took on him in flesh, so that you and I could know the way home, so that you and I know the dignity of being human before God, dignity of being his brothers and sisters, dignity of being Christian baptized in Christ. He humbled himself, took upon him in flesh, died for you and for me. And the holy spirit has been given to you and to me in such a way that's so powerful, that you and I are now worthy for the heavenly kingdom. The spirit of love has been poured into our heart so that we could love, we could think, we could act like our lord. So humility is deeply rooted in the holy trinity itself.

Now it's time for us to think of humility in human terms. What does it mean to truly be humble? My brothers and sisters, take a look at the first reading, and the gospel of today. Humility is a way of life, seeing oneself for who we are. We are human, we are weak, and we have been hurt by sins. Let's be honest, true humility is a recognition that we are human, weak and tarnished by sin and therefore, we need God, we need a savior. Look at our blessed mother Mary. Look at her; she and Joseph planned to have a beautiful life together. And yet suddenly, the angel appeared to her, and asked her to conceive and bear a child, and this child shall be the almighty, son of God. Our blessed mother was surprised by this news, and she automatically asked how could this be? I do not know a man, I don't have relations with a man, and how could I be pregnant with the son of God? An unexpected pregnancy could disorient her life, she was confused. So was Joseph, confused, did not know what to do, wanted to divorce her, and wanted to walk away. An unexpected pregnancy led her to all sorts of thinking, worries, and concerns, and rightly so. And yet with humility, a blessed mother says "yes" after having been corrected: don't worry; you shall conceive actually coming from God. The Holy Spirit would overshadow you ``. In the same way, the answer appeared to Joseph: "take Mary home, don't worry the child is actually the son of God. Your wife is the holy one. so don't worry, take her home, take the child home". And at that point both of them submitted themselves to the almighty God.

Humility opens up a possibility of conceiving heaven, and therefore salvation for you and for me. And that's the reason why the author of the first reading reminds us all that humility actually wins heart, and soul, other people. If we want recognition, if we want honor, if we want a place of recognition, both here and in heaven, we need to be humble. Not the same way the Pharisees entered the banquet. They look for the place of honor that has been assigned to them. They, status conscious people, wanted to be recognized and honored by the political system, by the people of the day. But the author, the prophet, looks far beyond. Recognition here is not so much about political gain or vain sort of glory. No, it's actually the love and approval of mankind.

Take a look at Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who would say she is prideful? no, she's a very humble woman. She spent an entire life caring for the dying, for the poor, for the homeless, for those who do not have anything. But yet a billion people admire her audacity, her desire to live for others, her desire to serve others. Humility is recognition of who we are - weak and in need of God's salvation. And at the same time, we acknowledge that it is not all about us. Life is not just about us. Satan thinks of himself all the time, Judas and Peter think of themselves and their plan all the time. But not our blessed mother, not Joseph, not Jesus, not the heavenly father, not the Holy Spirit, they think of you and i. They think of others. Humility is to think less of ourselves, and think more of others. Only then could our blessed mother open up her womb to the almighty son of God. Only then only then heaven is possible for you and for me.

If we are full of ourselves, where else should we fit others in? Where else should we have God? That's why pride is the source and root of all evil things, because nobody matters any longer. St. Fences Assisi used to be that kind of young man. Full of self, full of the desire to be gloriously accepted by the people, and yet after he encountered a leper, and counted the good lord, he gave up everything. And now we admire him for that audacity to give up everything for the sake of others. He begged for food yet he sacrificed himself for others. Don’t we admire people who plunge in the fire and save us - the firefighter? Don’t we admire those who sacrifice themselves like soldiers protecting us? We admire those people, because they humbly accept the challenge and therefore think of others.

In the same way, today our lord is calling us don't act like Pharisees, act like a text collector. Humbly accepting himself as sinful, weak, and in need of God's mercy. and that is true humility. Just like our blessed mother, acknowledging I am the handmaid of the lord, let it be done according to thy will. Just the same way our lord dies on the cross; humbly accept the challenge, the mission given to him by the heavenly father. Without a father, he is nothing. and therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, think of others more, and less of ourselves, and that is the way we open our heart, our home, our hands to care for, to serve, and to accept one another.


如果說驕傲是萬惡之源,那麼謙卑就是得救之道。看看聖經,就知道每一次的毀滅,每一次邪惡的作為,都與驕傲有關。路西法本是一名光明的天使,他的驕傲使他選擇與天父對抗。引誘亞當和厄娃犯罪。他變成了黑暗的魔鬼—撒旦。我們的驕傲使我們想與天父有同等的智慧。因此而喪失了當初被造時的聖潔和謙卑。接著就是巴貝耳塔,人類要建立一個高塔直通天堂。結果引起了分爭,不團結,使得人類失散在世界各地。伯多祿驕傲的認為他有比耶穌更好的的想法。耶穌要背負十字架來救贖人類。伯多祿想要擁立耶穌成為ㄧ個政治領袖。猶達斯認為他可以煽動耶穌進行政治上的革命,就以 30 塊銀子將耶穌賣掉。我們敢說,當一個人驕傲到認為他的主意比主更好,他就是世界上破壞和邪惡的根源。


現在讓我們從人的角度來看謙卑。真正的謙卑是什麼?讀經一及福音中都吿訴我們。真正的謙卑是一種生活方式,以誠實面對自己。承認我們是人,是軟弱的,被罪玷污了。因此,我們需要天父,需要一位救世主。讓我們看看聖母瑪利亞。她與丈夫若瑟計劃一起過美好的生活。突然之間,天使告訴她將懷孕生子,而且這個孩子就是全能的天父之子。瑪利亞聽到這個消息後很驚訝,她不由自主地問這是怎麼回事?我不認識男人,和男人沒有關係,怎麼會懷上神的兒子?意外的懷孕打亂了她的生活,她感到很困惑。天使向她解釋:”那要誕生的聖者,將稱為天主的兒子,聖神要臨於你,至高者的能力要庇廕你” ,瑪利亞很謙虛地說“是”。 若瑟也是一樣,瑪利亞有孕的事已顯示出來。他不知道怎麼辦才好,想和瑪利亞離婚,離開她。在夢中天使告訴他:“不要怕娶你的妻子瑪利亞,因為那在她內受生的,是出於聖神。她要生一個兒子,就是天主的兒子” 。他們都順服了天父的旨意。


再看看加爾各答的聖德肋撒修女,誰能說她是個驕傲的人?不,她是一個非常謙卑的人。她一生都在照顧垂死的人、窮人、無家可歸者,和一無所有的人。但有超過十億人欽佩她的勇氣,和為別人而活,為別人服務的召教。謙卑就是誠實的承認我們自己: 軟弱,需要天父的拯救。同時,我們也承認這世界上並不只有自己一人,生活不僅僅與我有關。撒旦無時無刻不在想著自己,猶達斯和伯多祿無時無刻想到自己和自己的計劃。但他們不是聖母瑪利亞,不是若瑟,不是耶穌,不是天父,不是聖神。聖母瑪利亞,若瑟,耶穌,天父,聖神想著你和我,祂們為別人著想。謙卑就是少為自己著想,多為他人著想。只有這樣,我們萬福的母親才能為全能的天父之子打開她的子宮。只有那時,天堂對你和我來說便成為可能的。

如果我們充滿了自我,那麼別人在什麼地方呢?那麼我們哪裡有空間來擁有天父?這就是為什麼驕傲是所有邪惡事物的根源。因為對驕傲的人來說除了自己,任何人都不再重要了。 St. Francis Assisi 曾經就是一個自私的年輕人。充滿了自我,滿懷希望被民眾光榮的接受。但卻遇到了麻風病人,碰到了良善心謙的天主。從此,他放棄了一切。今天,我們欽佩他為了他人而放棄一切的勇氣。他乞討食物,卻為他人犧牲了自己。難道我們不佩服那些跳入大火中拼命拯救我們的人—消防隊員嗎?難道我們不佩服那些為保護我們而犧牲自己生命的士兵嗎?我們欽佩這些人,因為他們為他人著想,謙卑的接受挑戰。

同樣地,今天我們的主召喚我們不要像法利賽人及猶太人的税吏那樣行事。 謙卑地承認自己有罪、軟弱、需要天父的憐憫。 這才是真正的謙卑。 就像我們萬福的母親一樣,承認我是主的卑女,願意按照主的旨意去做。 就像我們的主死在十字架上一樣; 虛心的接受挑戰,執行天父賦予祂的使命。 沒有天父,祂什麼都不是。 因此、親愛的兄弟姐妹們,多為他人著想,少為自己著想。敞開心扉、敞開家門、敞開雙手去關心、服務、和接納彼此。