Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity 27 -10 -19

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HUMILITY – A WAY TOWARDS GOD

Jesus tells us about two people, in fact about two attitudes. One attitude is thinking of oneself as better than others and the other is realising ones weaknesses and humbling oneself. Pharisee who is supposed to be very religious looks at himself as the one who is perfect and takes great pride in whatever he was doing and observing. Jesus then talks about the tax collector who is considered as a sinner by society, he stands before God and would not even look up to heaven but cries out God, be merciful to me, a sinner. And this person went home justified and pardoned. In telling this story, Jesus then concludes saying those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Mary in singing the magnificat proclaimed that God sees the lowly estate of the people and brings down the powerful from their thrones and ‘scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts’.

C S Lewis says, A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.  And this saying of C S Lewis indicates that we cannot see God when we are not humble.

He also said Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Another great saint of the church, Saint Augustine said that It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.

We remind ourselves what St. Paul advises, ‘let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus’ (Phil.2.5). He says that Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. (Phil 2.8).

There is one very moving image from the gospels that moves us to tears. Jesus washing the feet of the disciples though he is the Lord and master of the universe. Everything was created by him and through him and for him, yet he stoops down in humility to serve.

We come to the Lords table seeking such a mind of humility. Not that we have to think low of ourselves but thinking less about ourselves as C S Lewis says and thinking more of the well being and the value of others.