Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it;
and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice;
for the Lord is the judge,
and with him is no partiality.
He will not show partiality in the case of a poor man;
and he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.
He will not ignore the supplication of the fatherless,
nor the widow when she pours out her story.
He whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted,
and his prayer will reach to the clouds.
The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds,
and he will not be consoled until it reaches the Lord;
he will not desist until the Most High visits him,
and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgment.
And the Lord will not delay.
Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and be glad.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In the scriptures we see how much God loves humility. The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds. In humility, the poor, and the broken in spirit, are heard by the Lord. The prayer of a humble penitent is worthy of justification.
Those who learn humility have learned how to give glory and honor to God. They know that they need God and that apart from Him, they can do nothing. No good exists apart from God. We cannot glory in ourselves or in what we do, nor in our past accomplishments. But like St. Paul, we can know that God, who is just, will give us a reward in heaven if we have served Him and sought to please him.
St. Paul claimed to have been a chief sinner, but he knew that God showed him mercy and when he sought to serve the Lord, a crown of righteousness as a heavenly reward was saved for him. We see his humble attitude toward the people who abandoned him as he prays in forgiveness, “let it not be laid to their charge”. Echoing the Lord Jesus from the cross, “Father forgive them.”
What attitude do we have toward others? It relates directly to our attitude toward God. It is either along the lines of: “I am a sinner. Have mercy on me,” wherein we cannot condemn another person for their sins. Or it is: “I have all these accomplishments that prove I am a good person and I am superior to common sinners.”
God wants us to ask for His mercy but before we can do that, we have to be humble and know that we need it. We have to know that all good things come from Him and that we can take no credit for ourselves.
God has mercy to give and He will give it without partiality because He loves all his creation. But the strength of the bond of love between us depends on our part as well.
We need to love God by going to Him, acknowledging our need for His mercy, and by giving Him our humble service.