Humility and generosity


The story is told about a bus driver who was offered a handful of peanuts by an old lady seated at the choice seat behind him. He gratefully accepts and munches on them. Soon after, the old lady gives him another handful of peanuts. The third time she does this, the driver finally asks her why she keeps giving him peanuts. The lady’s reply: “That’s because I have no teeth, and I just love the chocolates around them.”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 14, 7-14) Jesus teaches His disciples about humility and generosity. When we do not take the “choice seats,” but take the lowest place, we learn to be humble. When we give not only the peanuts and excesses in our lives, but give freely with no thought of payback, we learn to be truly generous and giving.

* * *

“Ang taong mapagkumbaba ay pinagpapala” (A humble person is blessed).  “Ang taong mayabang ay tinatamaan” (A proud person gets hit). How true. History and current events have attested to the simple truth that it pays to be humble and lowly.

* * *

A lot of our problems and troubles could have been avoided if we learned to be humble to God and to others. When we sin, we disobey God’s will because of our pride, believing that we can do without Him. When we are proud, we cut our dependence on and need for God. The road back toward God’s heart is humility. Unless and until we take this road, we will not have true peace.

* * *

A lot of our problems and troubles can be healed only with humility. When we accept our failures in humility, reach out to God and to others in humility, forgive others in humility and forgive even ourselves in humility, then we are healed and we are free. As someone put it beautifully, the best calming tea is humility.

* * *

Another highly recommended tea is generosity. The greater the generosity, the deeper the serenity. Generosity, when given truly and abundantly does wonders to the peace and wellbeing of a person. Happy are the generous. Blessed are the generous!

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Pride and selfishness are caused by fear. The proud person is afraid of being deprived of human worth and recognition. So he or she covers this insecurity with pride and arrogance.  The greedy person is afraid of being materially deprived, so he or she covers this insecurity by getting and hoarding more. May the Lord deliver us from our fears and insecurities, and teach us to be more trusting and righteous.

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The recent scam involving Janet Lim-Napoles and some government officials could have been avoided had they taken the road of humility and generosity. Sin makes us believe in our own powers and influence.  Humility could have made them obey God’s commandment not to steal, not to lie and not to be greedy. Indeed, how much money does one need in this life to be happy?

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Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, incoming president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, pointed out the road of humility in his letter to the clergy when he said that the recent news about corruption in government should “make us more humble as moral guides and more zealous as lighthouses of morality in the midst of the storms besetting our boat.” He also pointed out the road of generosity when he urged priests not to become “pastors of status quo,” nor become “swivel chair pastors.” Rather, he urged priests to “get out to the barangays and public schools, visit charity wards of hospitals, teach catechism again, visit homes  again—make a ‘mess’ in society.”

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Archbishop Villegas hit the nail on the head too when he urged priests to stop giving “long, winding and dry sermons during Masses, and prepare, and deliver inspiring homilies to become more effective moral shepherds.” Amen!

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There’s a lot of pig-bashing these days. Reminds me of a story about a man who encountered traffic on the road because of an accident. Wanting to get going, he threw his weight around, telling the people: “Let me through! I am a relative of the victim!” When the crowd parted, there he saw on the road a dead pig, run over by a speeding truck. Lesson? Do not throw your weight around—humility! Let others go ahead—generosity!

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Former Assistant Administrator Narciso Alano of the National Food Authority succumbed to a heart attack last Aug. 25, while playing tennis. He was 74 years old. As we tennis players know, there is one shot in the game of tennis that is so effective and sure—service. As in tennis, so in life, let us specialize in good service.

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Thought for the journey: “Your present problem was already solved by God a long time ago! Just trust in Him, and things will be okay.”

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, teach me true humility and genuine generosity. Amen.

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  • perpetual7


  • cross my heart


    “…clergy…as moral guides and more zealous as lighthouses of morality in the midst of the storms besetting our boat.” – Archbishop Socrates Villegas

    “Let’s say you work for a gigantic institution…Bit by bit you advance in your career.
    You make a comfortable salary, and you’re building a retirement nest egg. Then
    comes the day that you discover something terribly wrong is going on. Do you make a big stink and endanger your job? Or do you just look the other way, knowing that the organization will resist any change and that if you speak out, you’ll likely end up as road-kill?” (Excerpted from the book “Your America: Democracy’s Local Heroes”)

    Bunny Greenhouse had grappled with such dilemma that laid the groundwork for her to become a whistle-blower. A Herculean task, she transformed a government bureaucracy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with over 35,000 employees, from within.

    Here’s an interesting passage from the same book:

    “Part of Greenhouse’s strength has come from her support network – media, members of Congress and outraged citizens. But she counts on another important source for strength: religion. Greenhouse is a deeply religious person, active in church since Sunday school. And almost forty years ago, she says she received a
    personal calling. She can’t explain it in logical terms. She came to know, she says, that God had a purpose for her. She was to be a ‘fisher of men.’

    “….For more than three decades she did not have a clear sense of what it was to be. Then, at a terrible time in her life, as she struggled with the Army Corps of
    Engineers, Greenhouse realized her time to become a ‘fisher of men’ had arrived.”

    That God-appointed time had arrived when she became one of the US most famous whistle-blowers.

    “Whatever makes men [and women] good Christians, makes them good citizen.” – Daniel Webster

    • Eustaquio Joven

      That God-appointed time had arrived when she became one of the US most famous whistle-blowers.

      Jun Lozada is the Philippines most famous whistle-blowers, and the least effective. If it’s any consolation, all of them fall under the same category. Reason? PNoy’s promised whistle blowers act never materialized. And, who cares what happens to them?.

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