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Be humble

A Japanese tourist was riding a taxi cab around Manila. He said: “This Toyota you’re driving…made in Japan. Very fast.” Seeing a car pass by, he remarked, “Ah, that’s Mitsubishi. Made in Japan. Very fast.”

Reaching his destination, the Japanese was shocked to see the exorbitant fare in the meter. “Why so high fare?” The driver said, “Taxi meter…made in Japan. Very fast!”

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That story might well illustrate Jesus’ teaching in the gospel in this 22nd Sunday: “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lk 14, 11).
The Lord goes further to elaborate, “When you go to a party, sit in the lowest place.”

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Obviously, Jesus’ words are not to be taken literally, otherwise nobody would sit in the “cabisera” or presidential table. Everybody would be grabbing for the last chair as in the parlor game “Trip to Jerusalem.”

What the Lord meant is a conscious effort to consider oneself always lower to others or to avoid blowing one’s own horn.

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As the book of Sirach puts it: “The greater you are, the more humble you should behave, then you will find favor with the Lord” (Sir 3,18).

It is not only God who values humility but also Filipinos in general. If one puts himself up, the Filipino in scorn will put him down, and vice versa. He hates the arrogant, the domineering, the haughty person.

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HUMILITY IS TRUTH. Let’s not misunderstand the virtue of humility, however. Being humble doesn’t mean suppression of one’s personal attributes or an abject self-depreciation.

It doesn’t consist in a beautiful woman calling herself ugly, or in an intelligent man calling himself dumb otherwise it’s false humility.

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Remember the thanksgiving canticle of the Virgin Mary, “Magnificat”? She openly declared, “Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”?

And Christ who proclaimed, “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart,” did not hesitate to say also, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

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The humble man knows his place and takes it. But even in his most triumphant moments, the humble man remembers that all he is and has, is from God. He does not claim the gifts of God for his own sole achievement.

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Finally, be humble by thanking people who have helped you in your achievements and successes. The great physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead.”

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So remember: If you want to be pleasing to God, if you want to be loved, be humble. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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