HUMUS: A HOMILY ON SATURDAY, 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
In the moth of March, following our Redemptorist tradition, we reflect on the virtue of Love of God. In order to reflect on this virtue, it is important to understand what our relationship with God is like. You cannot love someone when your relationship with that person is not clearly defined. Our relationship with God is a Creator-Creature relationship. God created us out of the earth as we read in our first reading of today. He created us and gave us many days to live. He gave us authority over everything on earth. He created us in His image, which makes it possible for us to enter into a relationship with Him. He gave us mouth, eyes, ears, tongue. He gave us knowledge and understanding and revealed good and evil to us. He gave us a heart and feelings so that we can fall in love with Him.
Many people have wondered why God would create us without our permission. That is because it is not possible to ask permission of someone who does not exist at the time. But He cannot force a relationship on us, just as you cannot force someone to become your friend or to love you. Therefore, our love for God has to be freely chosen. But if we reject Him, the consequence is on us. His love for us is everlasting according to the Responsorial psalm, but we have to choose to love Him back.
The foundation to this love is humility. Humility is derived from the Latin word ‘Humus’, which means ‘earth’ or ‘soil’. To be humble is not to pretend to be less than what you actually are. On the contrary, humility is the acknowledgement of who we really are, namely that we are made of dust and that to dust we will return. This is important as we prepare for Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, the priest tells us this when making the sign of the cross on our heads with the ash. Some who think this idea is too morbid only use the alternative which says ‘Repent and believe the good news’.
Jesus in the Gospel presents to us the image of a little child as our model in humility. The little child knows that in relation to his parent, he is nothing; that he cannot survive without his parent. That is what we all need to know in relation to God. We need to know that we did not create ourselves and that we came from the earth and to the earth shall we return, and that without God, we can do nothing. We need to know that everything we have and are is only but by the grace of God. How can we know all of that and not love God. To be humble is to know that we are from the humus and that only by the power of God can we move from humus to heaven. Jesus came to take our humus, so that he can invite us to higher grounds. The choice is ours.