Humility and Forgiveness

Luke 9: 51-56
Jb 3: 1-3, 11-17, 20-23 / Ps 88: 2-8

Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.
(Luke 9:51)

He could have “called down fire from above,”
To prove His own divinity,
But Jesus’ power He used for love
To teach us true humility;

When the time for His being taken up was fulfilled, Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. Jesus sent some men ahead of him. The men went into a Samaritan town to make everything ready for Jesus. But the people there would not welcome Him because he was going to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume them?” But Jesus turned and scolded them. Then Jesus and his followers went to another village. (Luke 9: 51-56)

Reflection

Jesus had already taught His disciples the importance of humility when they were arguing over who was the greatest. He had brought a little boy into their midst, and said, “The one who is least among you is the greatest.” (Lk. 9:48). Then later, when someone other than their company was reported casting out demons, the disciples had tried to stop him. Jesus had also rebuked them for their “professional jealousy”, saying, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not against you, then he is for you.” Now they wanted to wreak destruction upon a village of Samaritans, the Jews’ favorite whipping boy, even after our Lord had already taught them earlier to love their enemies (Lk. 6:27-28). How hard it must have been for our Lord to make His disciples learn the virtues of humility and forgiveness as pathways to salvation.

There are times when we cannot solve interpersonal problems because we do not see that those of us who consider ourselves righteous are the very cause of the problems. We despise those who are prejudiced, and fail to recognize the very same evil in ourselves. Our Lord Jesus constantly rebuked His apostles for their lack of humility, because they were always feeling so privileged to be walking with a Man of power. Humility is often attributed to the weak, the silent and unassuming, but actually, only those with power can have true humility. It is never easy to be humble when one has wealth and influence at his disposal. We have learned from Jesus’ teachings and example that a man of virtue harbors no feelings of revenge, nor is there any place for anger in the pursuit of perfect love.

As Christ’s disciples, we need to be able to relate to other people who do not share our faith or Christian culture with a humble and forgiving attitude even when we feel that we have been rejected and insulted. We have heard about the persecution of Christians by Hindu extremists in some parts of India, but we have not learned of any retaliation. Those suffering missionaries are the modern martyrs of the Church, because they are following our Lord’s path to Calvary. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus knew the harsh rejection, insults and torture that awaited Him, and yet, He set His face like flint, and proceeded to accomplish His mission there in total submission, and with a forgiving heart. Like the missionaries and the Christian faithful in India, may we likewise take up our cross in the practice of our faith.

Lord, forgive us whenever we do foolish things in the name of being “right.” We are sorry for feeling righteous, unaware that it leads to arrogance. Help us to be more forgiving and considerate of those who differ in our beliefs as Jesus has taught us. Amen.

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