CAMINANDO WITH JESUS: Learn from Me, that I am Patient and Humble of Heart
Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Years ago, in the ‘80s, I was sent as a missionary to plant churches in Baja California, Mexico. It was one of the most enlightening periods of my life as a priest. I thought I knew how to plant or “begin” a new mission, but when I arrived in that city to start from scratch, with nothing, I realized I hadn’t the slightest idea. Little by little, I discovered the path, or the formula, based on the experience of speaking with people and gradually explaining to them the mission that I had been given. In that way, I began to learn what Jesus taught his disciples in that day’s lesson. That is how I learned that being “patient and humble of heart” goes hand in hand with the mission of the Church.
It is said that patience is the mother of all virtues, and it’s very true. Patience is the ability to wait. Patience is the ability to stay calm. Patience is the ability to remain peaceful amid the storm. Patience is the ability to endure.
It has always stood out to me that those of us who go see a doctor are called patients, from the Latin patiens (to endure, to suffer), a sick person in need of care.
But here, Jesus the Teacher, the Rabbi, speaks of a different type of patience; that which is the opposite of being impulsive, hasty or rushed. How often have we seen examples of people who are rushed in their judgement, actions or definitions? And we say, “calm down, you’re being too hasty.” How often have we heard people express themselves hastily? And we say, “think about what you’re saying.” Sometimes we act calmly, and other times we are hasty. Sometimes we speak without thinking, and other times we think before we speak. Our Lord Jesus taught us to be patient, which is not easy to do, but He had very clear reasons; because He knows that patience is crucial for being a disciple. It is easier not to be patient; to lose one’s temper, to judge, to get angry, to become irritated over nothing, to speak recklessly, to act without thinking.
But to be a good disciple, it is necessary to learn to be patient.
On the other hand, we should not be surprised by the pairing of patience and humility. Jesus knows quite well what He teaches and advises. Be humble of heart.
Humility is erroneously associated with poverty, with a lack of material things or money. A humble heart is more a characteristic of the discipleship to which Jesus calls us.
This humility of heart is a personal recognition that we make when we consciously declare that God is our guide in life and that, without Him, life has no meaning. Humility is recognizing the greatness of God as a source of inspiration and the fact that all that we are and all that we have, we owe to Him.
Sometimes – or many times – we are so arrogant and believe ourselves to be so self-sufficient that we think what we are or what we have is something we achieved by ourselves, without help from anyone. When we think this, we are very wrong. What about life? What about nature? What about the things we eat? Did we make them ourselves? Not water, nor air, nor earth, nor fire – none of that could we have made ourselves. Human beings, through our reason and skill, have invented things using what already exists and was created by God. That recognition of the greatness of our Lord and Creator is what makes us humble of heart. Those actions of thanksgiving expressed in our prayers for the life we have are what make us humble of heart. That kind treatment of others, care for others, love for others is what makes us humble of heart. That respect and care for all of creation is what makes us humble of heart.
To be a good disciple, it is necessary to be humble of heart.
And even if perhaps we are not wise or knowledgeable, if we simply understand that, we will be on the path to being good disciples in our time. Amen.
The Rev. Habacuc Ramos Huerta is the rector of Iglesia el Buen Pastor, Durham.
Tags: Caminando with Jesus