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Give Me a Humble Heart
Saturday after Epiphany
Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from Heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this moment of intimacy with you in prayer. Please help me to draw from your word a personal message for my life today.
- Everyone Is Coming to Him: For a short time, Jesus and John worked near each other in the region of Judea. As Jesus’ popularity grew, John’s disciples heard of it and naturally wondered at Jesus’ ascendency. They had followed John the Baptist and loved him. They had dedicated their lives to helping with his ministry. They called him “Rabbi.” When they suggested to John that he was losing followers to Jesus, it must have been very upsetting and confusing for them to hear John subjugate himself to Jesus. Were they disappointed? Conflicted? Did they want to leave John to follow Jesus? When life throws us a curveball, when we’re chasing after the wrong good, when we’ve done everything right and still end up confused, sad, or hurt, it can be helpful to remember that we don’t always see the bigger picture, but Our Lord does. And he has promised to bring good from our difficult or disappointing circumstances (Romans 8:28).
- Everything Comes from God: In our world where quality goods and services are readily accessible, so many of our emotional and physical needs are met that we tend to ignore our soul’s plaintive whispers longing for God. Self-reliance is a grave temptation. We find an antidote to this contemporary malady in today’s Gospel. John the Baptist reminds us that “No one can receive anything except what has been given from Heaven.” Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we will be is a gratuitous gift from God. When we truly appreciate this reality, our self-reliance cannot help but be replaced by overwhelming gratitude. With grateful hearts, may we praise the Giver of every good thing!
- Humility, Humility, Humility: Much has been written about the humility of John the Baptist, most powerfully evidenced in this Gospel: “He must increase; I must decrease.” Humility has been called the mother of all virtues. The Catechism tells us that humility is “the foundation of prayer… ‘Man is a beggar before God’” (CCC 2559). When we have a humble heart, all of our words and actions, and our very way of being, give praise to God. According to St. Augustine, “The way to Christ is first through humility, second through humility, and third through humility. If humility does not precede and accompany and follow every good work we do, if it is not before us to focus on, if it is not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our hand any good deed we do at the very moment we do it” (Letters 118:22). How do we grow in this essential element of sanctity? We pray for humility; we pray to recognize ever more deeply who we are in the eyes of God.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, this Gospel is a call to grow in humility. Help me to know myself so that I rely not on the gifts and talents you have given me or the material goods I have, but only on you, Lord. Every great saint, it seems, radiates humility. Please give me this grace so that I may please you in all things.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do a hidden act of kindness for someone, knowing that only you see it.
For Further Reflection: Mother Teresa’s 15 Tips to Help You Become More Humble.
Written by Maribeth Harper.