“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11)
Pride is one of the seven capital vices (the seven deadly sins). Pride is a serious sin. The Bible teaches that pride was the sin of the angel of light, Lucifer (Satan) which made him attempt to challenge God and for that, he was thrown down to hell. (Cf. Revelations 12:7-9)
The danger of pride is its unsusceptible nature. I could be guilty of pride without even knowing it. The easiest way to detect pride is when you begin to assume that no one is as good, holy, wealthy, knowledgeable or important as you are. When you assume you are the best, it means you have become blind to the existence of anyone better than you.
Jesus was invited to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees. On this occasion, Jesus noticed how the invited guests chose the places of honour and he picked on this to teach us a very important lesson about pride.
Like these guests who went straight to occupy places of honour, pride closes your eye to the fact that there could be people more qualified for those seats. As Jesus puts it, “lest a more eminent man than you be invited and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.” (Luke 14:8-9).
Unfortunately, we only become conscious of our pride after we have suffered a fall; after we are asked to return to a lower position in shame. A true test of our humility is how we react to humiliation by others. Do I flare-up? Do I throw back an insult? Do I try to prove I am something? Or do I calmly accept my imperfection, laugh over it and forgive the other person immediately?
Humility is actually a very rare virtue. As we can see, not many people are able to handle humiliation calmly and this explains why no one likes to admit he or she is proud. St. Paul in today’s first reading says: “to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This is what should be our motto as Christians; to allow Christ to live in us in such a way that we become His living incarnation?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, you are humble and meek in heart. Make me just like you. Amen.
Bible Study: Philippians 1:18-26, Psalm 42:2-5 and Luke 14:1,7-11).