Our first reading today gives us the image of a king coming humbly to Zion, riding on a donkey. He is the messenger of peace. This prophecy found its fulfillment on Palm Sunday when Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem, unarmed and defenseless.
Though Jesus bore no weapons, he was not a weak person. To the contrary he was a strong person who had power over the human heart as he showed when the hearts of people like Mary Magdalen, Zacchaeus, Peter and Paul were changed.
Jesus says to us, “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” In our world today, humility and gentleness don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.
Let’s look at gentleness. There is this idea that if you want to get ahead in life, you have to be hard hearted, because if you are gentle, people will walk all over you. Gentleness tends to be seen as being timid, passive, and weak.
Gentleness is not a form of weakness but of strength. Treating others gently accomplishes much more then ordering people around.
To quote from “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” at the Eighth Station when Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem, we pray: “My Jesus, your compassion in your passion is beyond compare. Lord, teach me, help me learn. When I would snap at those who hurt me with their ridicule, those who misunderstand, or hinder me with some misguided helpfulness, those who intrude upon my privacy—then help me to curb my tongue. May gentleness become my cloak. Lord, make me kind like you.”
Regarding the virtue of humility. In today’s competitive world we are told to project ourselves if we want to go places. The world sees humility as weakness. Humility actually strengthens a person because it helps one to recognize and acknowledge the Source of all of one’s gifts. A humble heart is a grateful heart!
To those who are gentle and humble Jesus promises peace of mind and heart. Those who possess the virtue of humility have the ability to disarm others and bring out the best in them. Those who are gentle and humble make life less burdensome for themselves and others.
May our simple prayer be, “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.”
- Father Dennis, July 9, 2017