BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE.



The success of every form of relationship requires some element of humility from both parties. Our relationship with God is not different in this regard. That God, in all of His Majesty and Magnificence, still makes Himself available for us to encounter Him speaks volume about who God is. Our reception and reaction towards this divine disposition gives a lot of Information about us. Only the humble can take advantage of God’s merciful and gracious condescension towards us to build a good relationship with Him; the relationship that brings about our transformation and elevation and acceptance before God. May we never lose out in this regard; Amen.

Every relationship requires some level of communication. In our relationship with God, this communication is often made in the form of prayers. Prayer is fundamentally an act of faith and the manifestation of the virtue of humility; because at prayers, we speak to God and we listen to Him. At prayers we profess our faith in God and we recognise the fact that we are not independent; we need God to be fully human. An essential sign of humility in prayers is not to remind God of who we are. But on the contrary, to request God for the grace to become who He wants us to be. This is the fundamental difference between the prayer of the Pharisee from that of the Tax collector in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 18:9-14). Whereas the Pharisee concentrated himself on speaking to God about who he was; the Tax Collector, in very simple words requested from God the grace to be who God wants him to be; “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus summarises the effect of this prayer in the life of the Tax Collector this way; “this man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God.” God simply wants us to be men and women at rights with him. Whoever is at rights with God has achieved everything possible in this life and in the life to come. It is very important to always seek for the grace to be who God wants us to be because sometimes, the image of ourselves we may have, irrespective of how good and noble they may seem to us, may also be very contrary and even contradictory to who and what God wants us to be.

The fundamental question today is: what does it mean to be at rights with God? Who could be defined as being at rights with God? The First Reading (Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19) gives some hint of who such a person is; namely, the man or woman “who with his whole heart serves God.” The condition of one’s heart says many things about such a person. To serve God with the whole heart means to serve God with undivided attention. Such service is impossible without humility and without the assistance of God’s grace. The Second Reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18) also gives us some hints to the identity of the one who is at rights with God. He or she is one who is ready to fight the good fight of defending the faith persistently to the end. He or she is one who is ready to run the race of Eternal Life to the finish irrespective of the challenges and obstacles. He or she is one who is ready to endure pain and suffering for the course of God in the world. Such a person is a man or woman of hope who proactively has his or her eyes fixed on “the crown of righteousness reserved for those who cooperate with God, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to them on that Day; and not only to them but to all those who have longed for his appearing.” Openness to the grace God in humility makes all of these possible in the life of any man or woman. Humility is the basis and foundation of exaltation in Christ language; “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” It is also the greatest secret to receiving favours from God and of having prayers and petitions answered; “the humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds.” The person that is defined to be at rights with God is by implication defined also as a humble person. Likewise, the man or woman who is at rights with God is by default a missionary. He preaches not so much with words, but with the witness of life that is pleasing to God and that remains a source of inspiration to many. Such a person is led by the Holy Spirit and such a person is made relevant wherever such one finds oneself. Such a person remains a model for missionaries today as we celebrate world Mission Sunday. A fruitful and faithful missionary is both humble and prayerful.

Heavenly Father, the best thing we can ever be is to become that which You want us to be. In the many suggestions and complications that arise from our aspirations and self-set goals, may we never lose sight of who You want us to be! Give us the grace to become that and only just that; Amen.

Happy Mission Sunday;

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