Before my job as the youth minister, I was a rep for a company; selling products to various stores around STL. I remember this one time when I was inside of SAMS; everything looked perfect and squared up; there seemed to be extra employees all around; and all were on. I really couldn’t figure out why or really what was going on. So I asked an employee what was happening. Evidently, the Waltons [the owners/ CEOs of SAMS and Walmart] were there. Everyone was intimidated by the very presence of them. It was a pretty big deal for the store and its employees.
That’s very comparable to today’s Gospel. The Roman Centurion was a very powerful guy. A] Romans were, for all intents and purposes, a superior race. They ruled over the Jews. B] He was also powerful, because he was a centurion; that is, essentially, a general who had a military underneath him. And as a powerful guy, he was pretty intimidating.
What the centurion says is, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you….” Do you see the ultimate humility of that statement? He calls out to a poor Jew, who in the eyes of a Roman, was a lesser human being, and says I am not worthy to be in your presence. Can you imagine the CEO of your company saying he or she was unworthy to be near you? Jesus replies, “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Faith and Humility go hand in hand.
I know humility isn’t easy. We don’t like being told what to do. Nobody really wants to consider ourselves as being unworthy. Generally, we believe that we will have long, successful lives, full of money and power. We all strive to be the next position above… from grunt to supervisor, to manager, to officer, to CEO. That’s the American dream. Nobody likes to be subject to authority; we are Americans; a country founded on rebellion. But even our own sinfulness is stems from believing we know better than God.
But, as stated before, Faith and Humility are inseparable. For the last month and a half, we’ve had readings on Sunday encouraging this idea of humbling ourselves before God, and warns us of exulting ourselves.
Advent is the Church’s New Year; It is also meant to be a spiritual new year, as well. The Church asks us to create a spiritual new year’s resolution. Unlike the January 1st New Year’s resolution, where we attempt to take on too much [and therefore fail], we are asked to do something to better our relationship with God.
Don’t pick something too much; but rather, pick something that is attainable. Consider making humility your focus this year. Perhaps, you choose to seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation more frequently; or maybe you do something, like a make a conscious decision daily to do something with humility [like not complaining when taking the trash out, or consuming the overcooked chicken no one wants to eat.]
Our challenge tonight is to figure out what your spiritual new year’s resolution will be; how can we become more humble, so that we may become more faithful.
Let us pray: