After leaving that place, they made their way through Galilee; but Jesus did not want people to know where he was because he was teaching his disciples. And he told them, “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, but three days after he has been killed, he will rise.” The disciples, however, did not understand these words and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they did not answer, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, “If someone wants to be first, let him be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child, placed him in their midst, and putting his arms around him he said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me, but the One who sent me.”
Both readings in today’s liturgy insist on the need for humility. Now we can ask ourselves why God has such a preference for the humble. And the answer is very simple: because he is pure truth, and those who boast of themselves or think highly of themselves are simply liars. Why liars? Because they identify themselves with their talents, beauty, I.Q., artistic gifts, etc. They falsely imagine that they are these abilities of theirs. But that is not true. They have merely received–and without any merit on their part—these talents and aptitudes. As the apostle Paul reminds us, “Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor 4:7) Humility is based on truth. Without God, I am nothing. Period. I do not even exist outside of him. And everything else I have comes from him as pure, unmerited gift. To acknowledge this is simply to be honest, truthful. Humility is truth. When we are humble and truthful God is attracted to us because that is what he is.
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