Daily Reflection, Tuesday 21 May 2024


James 4:1-10
Mark 9:30-37


As I reflect on my teaching career, especially on my time spent on kindergarten (20 years plus) I recall the trust my pupils placed in me and the sense of fulfilment and pleasure displayed by them in trying to please me in all things as their teacher. There was a sense of confidence, pleasure in doing what was expected of them because it pleased me. They were innocent and humble in spirit and were not into impressing others.

I feel that God desires this same spirit of trust and humility as we trust in him and others, putting their needs and concerns before our own.

The theme of humility seems to run through the readings today.

Humility, which can often be misconstrued as weakness, is a cornerstone of human character, embodying the essence of modesty, self-awareness, and respect for others. In a world often glorifying ego and self-promotion, humility stands as a beacon of genuine virtue, fostering deeper connections with others, personal growth, and societal harmony.
Humility, derived from the Latin word “humilis,” meaning low or humble. It is not self-deprecation or lack of confidence but rather an acknowledgment of one’s giftedness and limitations. In our Christian tradition, humility is revered as a virtue essential for personal development and spiritual enlightenment.

In today’s first reading the challenge is put to James’ listeners to humble themselves in the sight of God for them to be “exalted.”

In the Gospel, Jesus clearly states that the one who wants to be first needs to put themself last and be the servant of all.

Humility is not a false sense that one has no value. Humility calls us to be aware of our God given talents and to use these for the betterment of others.

When we look around at contemporary society, humility is not a trait that is fostered. We live in a society where people are self-centred and often quite arrogant; the other, where individuals wallow in their own self-pity and are self-absorbed. Both are complete opposites of humility and demonstrate a lack of awareness of one’s relationship with God.

Individuals who wallow in self-pity are akin to self-centredness. Instead of being grateful for what they have, they wallow in their poor situation and want others to feel sorry and have sympathy for them. They fail to acknowledge their giftedness and therefore fail to be open to what their relationship with God could be and might further be offering them.

In the first reading, James points out the characteristics of arrogant people – always being in conflict with others, envious, covetous, seeking only to please oneself, and asking God wrongly for things.

The Gospel scenario presents us with the disciples arguing about who is the greatest. When Jesus questions them about their arguing, He is met with silence for they know He would not approve of the topic of conversation.

I believe that the disposition God wants us to have is one of humility in knowing who we are in His eyes. In doing this, as the fist reading states, we allow God to exalt us, to lift us up. It is like the complete trust and surrender a child has with its parents.

In the Gospel, Jesus presents the disciples with a child and asks them to accept the child as the child is – innocent, trusting, having faith in those who love them. The child does not worry about anything or anyone if it has the love and security provided by loving parents. Happy children seek to do what pleases their caring parents!

This is the attitude required of us if we are to be true disciples of Jesus. We need to be humble and happily come before our God.

We need to realise the depth to which we are loved, the protection in which we are enveloped and the gifts with which we are enriched. This will lead us to the one who loves, protects, and gifts us. We will seek to be servants of others for we know that is what is asked of us.

If we humbly acknowledge who we are in the sight of God, we will be exalted far beyond what we can ever imagine, or to put it in the words of the psalmist today: “Throw your cares on the Lord,

and he will support you. Never will God permit the just to be disturbed!”

Michael Schiano has been a member of St. Brigid’s parish since 1990. As a parish member he has served on the Parish Pastoral Council, Liturgy Committee, Bereavement Team and is a member of the Passionist Companions. He has been an educator in the Archdiocese and has held positions in middle management and executive leadership positions. He currently works in Aged Care in the roles of Pastoral Care Co-Ordinator and Chaplaincy at Brigidine House, Randwick; St. Anne’s Hunters Hill; Pastoral Care Officer at Calvary Ryde.