“And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Since the beginning of this week, our minds have not left the scene of the Epiphany of Jesus where the Magi from the East presented gifts to the infant Jesus. Using our readings as guides, we have gone through a series of gifts that we too could present to Jesus; the Gift of Repentance, the Gift of Time, the Gift of Faith, the Gift of Speech, the Gift of Devotion and today we conclude with the Gift of Humility. Humility is one gift that crowns all the others. It serves as the packaging so to say, the wrapper we use in decorating anything worth presenting to Jesus. When the Magi got to Jesus, the Gospel of Matthew tells us, “they fell down and worshiped him…” This was their packaging: the outward sign of their inner disposition of humility before a king greater than themselves. If they had simply walked in, dropped their gifts and bounced out, I am sure their gold, frankincense and myrrh would not have meant anything to Jesus.
Humility is a precious gift, one that draws God’s attention to us. The Apostle James teaches us: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). Humility requires that we are able to say with John the Baptist in today’s Gospel passage: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). Note that by the time John said this, he had gained more popularity than Jesus. People even came to him wondering if he was the Messiah. John the Baptist never fell into the temptation of taking any personal glory for himself. What was the secret of John the Baptist’s humility? He was always conscious of the fact that the ministry entrusted to him was not his personal property. Listen to what he said in today’s Gospel passage: “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.” (John 3:27). How often do we remember this? How often do we ministers of God remember that we must decrease to allow God increase in the hearts of our flock? How easy it is to hear terms such as: “My ministry, my altar, my church”, “I am in charge here.” etc.
To really teach us humility, John the Evangelist in today’s first reading addresses us as children. He says: “Little Children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1st John 5:21). This is instructive, we are children regardless of our age and position. Again, one way we worship idols is by making ourselves into gods; self-pride, self-exultation, etc. Finally, St. John invites us to have a deeper confidence in God when we pray. Whatever we ask from God, we ought to believe that we have received it already. Prayer is never in vain. God is ever faithful. Prayer teaches us humility. The more we pray, the more we realize our dependence on God.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, I realise that I am nothing before you, work through me always that my life may become my gift to you. Amen. Bible Study: 1st John 5:14-21, Psalm 149 and John 3:22-30).