1Sam 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41
Samuel was about to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king because he was looking at their appearances and statures as well as their evident abilities. God gave him this priceless lesson, “Man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.”
God does not just look at our hearts, but He looks into the depths of our hearts because He is always searching for true humility. Only a truly humble soul can have space for God, His holy will, and His gifts. Only a truly humble soul can receive the gifts that God is offering, no matter How God offers them, and respond to this gift in an appropriate way. David was humble enough at that time to receive the anointing that God was offering to him through Samuel, “From that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.”
In Jn 9:1-41, Jesus declared that the blindness of the man born blind was not the consequence of his sin or that of his parents. On the contrary, his lifelong blindness had a divine humbling purpose, “It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” This man’s blindness had disposed him to cultivate humility and thus be ready to receive sight from Christ and respond appropriately for the glory of God.
We see the humility of this man on many levels. He was humble enough to attest to the good thing that Jesus had done for him, “He put clay on my eyes.” He did not take credit but gave all credit to Jesus for his restored sight. He also did not complain about Jesus’ unconventional healing method. He was humble enough to listen and trust in the words of Jesus to him, “He told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’” He did not ask why Siloam or why Jesus should smear muddy saliva on him and then tell him to go and wash.
He showed his humility also in acknowledging his own role in his healing, “So I went there (Siloam) and washed and was able to see.” His was no false humility that denied the good that he had done by the grace of God. Lastly, he showed humility by giving witness to Jesus no matter the cost or consequences, “They (Pharisees) threw him out.” He was no wimp who would change his testimony to succumb to or conform to public opinion.
On the other hand, the Pharisees condemned themselves to spiritual blindness because, in their pride, they had no space for God and His gift of light. Jesus had a sobering rebuke to their claim of having sight, “But now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” We remember the words of Jesus attesting that only truly humble souls can be enlightened by God, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11:25-26) Jesus rejoices in what the Father always does i.e., He reveals Himself only to humble souls. Proud souls can never be enlightened by Him.
St. Paul challenged the Ephesian Christians to oppose and dispel the darkness all around them, “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness, rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret.”
However, before they can successfully oppose and scatter the darkness, they had to humble themselves greatly. They had to humbly accept the gift of belonging to the kingdom of light and not of darkness, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” They must also cultivate their humility because that is what God desires the most in their hearts, “Try to learn what is pleasing to God.” By cultivating their humility in the face of darkness, they could receive and respond to God’s graces and light and become instruments in the hands of God to dispel all darkness.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is an understatement to say that we are living in very dark times today. There are things being discussed and proposed today in the Church in the guise of a global Synodal process that are worse than the very things that St. Paul warned us to be ashamed to even mention. We have the German synodal way assembly recently voting a whooping 176-26 in favor of offering blessings for same-sex couples in the country. More disturbingly, 38 out of 58 German bishops favored the motion for such blessings.
This is a clear example of the darkness that emerges when we give free rein to pride in our hearts. We can disregard Sacred scripture and claim to be wiser and more pastorally in touch than over two thousand years of the Church’s moral Tradition. We can become our own magisterium too because we feel so unique and special in the Church that her morality no longer applies to us, and we need to constantly “update” her moral teaching. We can even arrogantly claim the power to bless that which God condemns and detests.
Unfortunately, when such pride is left to fester in the Church, we end up paying more attention to our appearance and acceptability to the worldly powers and we completely disregard what God really sees in the depths of our hearts. We become experts in covering up our sandalous crimes instead of humbly repenting of them. This is how the Church slowly fails in her vocation as Christ’s only instrument of salvation, the universal sacrament of salvation. Eventually, the Church becomes spiritually impotent in the face of the forces of darkness.
We also receive the same challenge of St. Paul to oppose, reject, and dispel the darkness of our times by living as children of light, “a light that produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” We can do this only by cultivating our humility of heart, even in dark times. We can begin with deep gratitude for what God has done for us in allowing us to bear His light. We can also begin to listen to His words and trust in Him, ready to obey Him and give witness to Him, even if we are ostracized and abandoned by others. It is only such humility of heart that will allow the light of Christ to dispel the darkness of our times through us.
Let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the moment of darkness when humanity was hopeless in the face of sin and evil, God looked for the humblest of creatures to receive His only-begotten Son and respond appropriately for the greater glory of God. He found such deep humility only in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary knew that God desired humility in her heart above all things, “He has regarded the humility of His handmaid.” (Lk 1:48) We are beneficiaries of the light of Christ today because Mary humbly received and responded to God’s gifts, even to the point of participating in His passion and death on Calvary to the greater glory of God and for our salvation.
Jesus is still looking into the depths of our hearts today, searching for true humility. Let us turn to the humble Virgin Mary to share in her humility. If we also allow her to form humble hearts in us, God will fill us with His gift of light and use us for the ultimate triumph of light over darkness in this dark world.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash