Palm Sunday/AK Sunday
April 1, 2012
A: Matt 26:14 – 27:66 or 27:11-54
B: Mark 14:1 – 15:47 or 15:1-39
Humility: Our Way to Faithful Stewardship
“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation” – Psalm 149:4
Humility is one of the hardest virtues to espouse in a world wrapped with egotism, arrogance, and conceit. But as disciples, we are reminded once again to break our shell of pride, and to stay humble and simple.
1) To encourage the participants to appreciate, value and follow the virtue of humility; and
2) To challenge the participants to become faithful stewards by practicing the virtue of humility in their works of mercy, development, and justice.
Suggested Activity: One-Up Game
What’s the One-Up Game? It’s when we are interacting with other people and we tell a story to top theirs. We often hear this in jokes.
Japanese: When I dig the ground of my ancestors, in 50 feet, I found wires of telephones. See? (Looking to the American and Filipino). Long, long ago we are indeed high tech people.
American: Oh, that’s nothing. What I dig up in 100 feet below the ground, I found small wirings of computers. Telephone is nothing compared to computers.
Filipino: Well, in my case, when I dig up 150 feet I found nothing. (The Japanese and American laughed hard). Then the Filipino continued by saying telephone and computers are nothing compared to cellular phones. It is wireless.
Split the participants into 3-6 groups, depending on the number of total participants. Let them think in 15 minutes a “One-Up Game” that they can share in the group. When the group presents their One-Up Game, let the other groups observe their words, actions/body language, facial expressions, etc.
- What drives us to be on top of the pile? Why do we love to boast?
- How does it feel when we are crushed and defeated?
- What is the collective emotion felt by the participants at the end of each presentation?
- How does humility help you grow spiritually?
- How can you empty yourself to make room for God?
Our era is characterized by dishonesty and moral degradation. Many of our people, particularly politicians and/or public servants, commit corrupt and dishonest practices for personal and family interests. And seldom can you see public servants humble enough to accept criticisms.
The impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona is a classic example of power struggle among elites. It does not directly address the concerns of the poor: putting food on their table, and providing security of tenure, decent shelter, health services and quality education. Humility is wanting among highest officials of government.
The impeachment reveals that our government officials cannot do simple act of humility even in simple filing or submission of accurate Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Network (SALN).
Reflection and Analysis
“Your king comes to you without display…” – Matthew 21:5
Today is Palm Sunday – the day we commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, exactly one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1-11). The Gospel records the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”.
Though He is a king, Jesus came mounted not on a mighty warhorse, but on a donkey.He’s a popular rabbi, a known healer, a miracle worker and yet He had no armed escort, no gleaming shields and helmets, no symbols of military power. His life symbolizes humility. He was born in the manger, son of a carpenter, stayed and worked with the lowly. But His humility is best manifested His passion and death. He endured the ridicule of people and suffered the most shameful death for the salvation of men.
As disciples, we should be humble to submit to God’s will. And as leaders, we should set examples to our people. Public office demands public trust, hence, government leaders should be transparent and humble in serving the people. As we undergo spiritual renewal, we pray for the conversion of our government leaders that they may realize their weaknesses and unworthiness before God; and submit to His will so they can imitate Christ as servant leader.
It is truly when we are humble that we put others before ourselves. It is when we are humble that we can truly serve others faithfully.
Humility is on-going recognition of our position as stewards and disciples of God. It is about thinking of ourselves less, and thinking of the others more. St. Paul beautifully expressed it in Philippians 2:1-4: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand”.
When we are humble, we can achieve a lot as a nation. As stewards, we are not the owners. The owner of all is God. Know His will, do what the owner wants. As politicians, for example, we owe our position to the people- do not cheat them and do not let our family own the position and pass it on to the next generation.
Call to Action
When we look at our government, we greatly aspire for good governance. We realize that “the common good is tragically uncommon, power and profit for self and family being the dominant ends of political engagement “(CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics #52). We need government leaders who have high sense of moral integrity that inspire them to commit themselves to justice and truth. We need government leaders who are humble enough to serve and lead our people “where moral principles prevail in social economic life and structures; where justice, love and solidarity are the inner driving forces of development” (PCP II # 253).
We need to change our situation and we must find ways how to dismantle the system of privilege for the few and restore power to the great masses of people. One act that we must do is to elect principled candidates in government posts during election. Take election seriously and think for the common good. We have a lot of things to do on this issue but we must believe that we can do something to change the political consciousness of our people.
On this regard, we invite everyone to be humble servant.
- Rejoice for others’ accomplishments because we share their joy and gratefulness
- Rejoice when someone receives an honor because we admit they deserve it.
- Apologize when in the wrong because we are willing to admit our mistakes.
- Seek forgiveness because we understand the importance of making amends and maintaining unity.
- Do not to judge others because we know we are no better than anyone else.
- Say “no” to power because you follow the example of Christ by serving others.
- Acceptance of weaknesses because it helps us recognize our need for God.
- Respect authority because welearn to submit the will of the Father.
Place others before ourselves because that is what Christ did.