Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Joshua 24:14-29 + Matthew 19:13-15
“‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them….’”
Our spiritual need for humility is like our body’s need for water: it is foundational, in an on-going manner, and in a manner that we constantly have to attend to. Some people think that humility is only for children. This sort of thinking says, “Of course you should be humble when you’re small. You should be humble, for example, when you’re applying for a job, and when you’re going to confession, and when you’re at the bank applying for a loan. But… once you’re older, and you’ve made something of your life, and have money in the bank, and people who work for you… well, then, the time for humility is past. At this point, you should take pride in yourself.”
But Jesus says just the opposite. Jesus, as divine and the only-begotten Son of God, declared from Heaven at the moment of the Annunciation: “I am willing to become even less than a tiny baby. I will become a single-celled human being inside the womb of this 14-year-old girl, in order to grow up and die to take away the sins of all mankind.”
We can reflect on the example of the Annunciation as a concrete example of Jesus’ counsel today. Both Mary and Jesus in the scene of the Annunciation show us to whom “the Kingdom of Heaven belongs”. Both Mary and Jesus demonstrate humility, but from opposite ends of a spectrum. Mary—a poor, weak girl—submits her self to God the Father, accepting from Him a vocation that she cannot possibly understand. Jesus—God’s own divine Son—submits His self to God the Father, accepting from Him a vocation that we cannot understand. Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord show us that humility is needed at every step of our lives: from the beginning of our life on this earth, to the end of our life in Heaven. We never outgrow the need for humility.