Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to a lesson on humility, and its importance, when we become the disciples of Christ, not to boast of our own glory, but rather boast of the glory of God, made evident in Jesus the Christ. That is because it is indeed the Lord who is worthy of all praise and glory, for His might, and even more importantly for the extent of the love that He had shown us through Christ.
The Lord wanted to teach His disciples, and through them, all of us, on the value and importance on humility and being humble, as the way to be a good and upright person, a good child of God. And Christ did not just preach and do nothing about what He taught, because in fact He truly practiced what He had preached.
How so? Jesus is truly humble and unassuming, although He is truly great, as the King of all kings. He is divine and omnipotent, and all creation is under His power and authority, as the Lord of all the universe, and yet, for our sake and our salvation from death, He is willing to make Himself small and insignificant, as small and unworthy as we are, to be man like one of us, although without sin.
In His humility too, He was born in a small stable, rejected by others, from inns and houses, that He had to be born among the animals and shepherds. He lived as a carpenter’s son and was ridiculed by His own people, the people of Nazareth, when He revealed the truth about Himself to them. He was humble in all of His ways and loving in all of His actions.
There is nothing that exemplifies His humility better than that of His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. That He lowered Himself to die a death of a slave, the death on the cross, condemned to death despite His innocence, for the sake of all of us. But that is also where the Lord’s words came true even more. That is because the symbol of the cross was transformed forever, from the symbol of shame to be a symbol of hope and victory.
Christ rose up from the dead in glory on the third day after His death, and He took His rightful place as the Lord of all things, having saved mankind through His death, that they will not die but live. On the other hand, the prideful and arrogant Satan was cast down in great shame, and forever he is condemned to the punishment prepared for him, for his prideful rebellion against the Lord.
With humility, we will go a long way, because with humility in our heart, we will be more ready to open it to the love of God, to the wisdom of God, and to His saving power. We will be more ready to listen to Him and take in all the teachings that He had told us, the commandments that He had given us to follow, that we become truly faithful and obedient to He who created us.
Humility allows one to understand one’s faults and weaknesses more readily, and also the understanding, that one’s sins had prevented one from reaching the Lord and eternal joy in heaven. That this will likely make one to atone for one’s own sins and do things that help to overcome those sins as well as doing good for others. That is how important humility truly is.
Without humility, we tend to be prone to fall into our own pride, and end up shutting the Lord and even our other beloved ones from our heart. We will tend to build up our ego, to the point that we think only about ourselves, and not for others, at all. We tend to do things for our own glory, and praising ourselves for our own greatness, without realising that, without God we are really nothing.
Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, a great writer of the early Church, and one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, as one of the original Four, together with St. Augustine, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. as strong pillars of the Church. St. Jerome lived at a time when the faith has begun to take hold over the entire Roman Empire after it was no longer persecuted.
St. Jerome’s contribution to the Church is truly great, especially to the Church in the western parts of the Empire. The Roman Empire was a vast Empire spanning from Britain and the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Middle East and Egypt, encompassing the entire Mediterranean Sea basin. The western part of that Empire spoke primarily Latin and its dialectic derivatives, the official language of the Empire.
The eastern part however, spoke primarily Greek and a variety of other ancient languages, and because the faith came and arose from that region, much of the Scripture that we know today was written in Greek or in the other eastern languages. It is St. Jerome who opened the doorway to the Scripture in the west, and therefore to us, by being the first to translate the Septuagint, that is the Greek Scripture, into the Vulgate, the Latin Scripture, written by St. Jerome himself.
St. Jerome also courageously defended the true and orthodox faith, defending it against every kind of aberrations and heresies that threatened to split the Church apart at that time. Through his writings and other works, St. Jerome kept the Apostolic faith alive and strong even in difficult times.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today, as we celebrate the feast of this great saint, St. Jerome, let us also strive to be more like him. St. Jerome is an ascetic, one who withdrew from the pleasures of the world and reject worldly glories, putting the Lord above everything else. He is also humble, and he did his work with great humility, and yet he bore much fruits.
That is why, brethren, we too should emulate him, in doing good works in our own ways, even in small little ways. Because even in little things, good can eventually come in abundance. In humility too, we can become great, not in the way that the world sees it, but instead in the eyes of the Lord. Humility bears love, and that love will bear much good. Even in his ‘humble’ work as a writer, St. Jerome’s good works still affect us even until this day. All the Bibles that we read today eventually had their roots from the works of St. Jerome.
May St. Jerome intercede for us and pray always for us sinners, that we can remain in the grace of God, and receive His heavenly blessings. May God be with us and remain with us always. Amen.