“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
It has taken me a few years, like forty years (!), but I am beginning to see how the virtue of humility is powerful, amazing and life changing.
I know! I know! Of course the Lord knows what he is saying, but no one can deny that his sayings rub us the wrong way. What stops us from believing the Lord whole heartedly is that his sayings really go against all business and political marketing strategies! Aren’t we supposed to look tough, act tough and be tough? Aren’t we supposed to be full of ourselves? Aren’t we supposed to be confident in our abilities, confident in ourselves? After all, we all remember Darwin’s revolutionary evolutionary observation in which only the “fittest survive!”
They do…in the animal kingdom, but not at all in God’s Kingdom. Only the meek and humble of heart make the final cut. Only they survive in God’s Kingdom, while the rest are tossed away for burning. “Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Even on earth, the meek and humble of heart are exalted.
It had been a long time since I had watched an NBA Championship game series. I didn’t think I had the time to do so. But when I heard that the Heat beat the Mavericks in the first game, I wasn’t surprised at all. After all, the Heat was supposed to annihilate the Mavericks, right? They had the best players, right? They had home court advantage, right? Wrong!
I can’t even remember why I began to watch the last five minutes of the second game of the series. While I was viewing it, I began to feel sick to my stomach at how childish (not child-like) the players from the Heat were acting as they were beating the Mavericks in the final quarter. They were fist bumping, chest bumping, head butting each other.
And then they lost.
We love the underdog. We love the story of the man or woman who was voted least likely to succeed in High School, and then succeeds in life.
Deep down we fear stories and movies like The Planet of the Apes because we know it could happen one day. We have far too many scientists in our nation that pound their chests because they are so sure of themselves. If the human race were ever to be destroyed, the underlying reason would be self-confidence.
We love a good story. That is, we love a humble story. We love the story and movie about America’s hero (Captain America) because it is the American story. It is the story of what happens when the least likely are given the opportunity to succeed: the least likely indeed succeed! Marvel Comics begin their famous story from the pages of American history. Steve Rogers is the child of poor Irish immigrants. He grows up a frail youth during the Great Depression. His father died when he was a child, and his mother died from pneumonia in his late teens. From humble beginnings he learns what it means to be caring and good. Captain America is Irish. Captain America is Catholic!
The best line in Captain America is when Steve Rogers asks the question, “Why me?” Wow! That’s powerful! That’s humble! It is the start of something new! It is the tipping point, the question, that leads someone to greatness.
“Why me?” as opposed to “Why not me?” is the most honest and humble question I could ever ask.
I am sure it was the same question being asked by the child in the Gospel as he was brought over to Christ.
Recent movies like Harry Potter and Captain America have something in common: they use our people and our story. Yes! Love, sacrifice, death and resurrection are themes from our love story. The story of the rise of the meek and humble of heart!