In one of his letters, St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “the moment you decided to use all your strength in praising, honoring, and serving God our Lord, that was the moment you entered battle with the world, raised your standards against it, and made yourself ready to reject all that is exalted by embracing all that is lowly…If we desire to live in honor and to be esteemed by our neighbors, then we shall never be solidly rooted in God our Lord, and it will be impossible for us to remain undisturbed when insults come our way.”
This letter from St. Ignatius provides us with a good insight for understanding the Gospel reading today. Jesus is a humble and suffering Messiah. To be a follower of Jesus means to render humble service. The issue is whether we are humble enough to accept that dishonor, poverty and lowly position instead of honor, riches and high position.
A few years ago, I was doing my regency assignment in one of the Jesuit colleges. At that time, my rector instructed me to apply for a resident advisor position in the student housing facilities. Having undergone a long interview process through the university administration, they came to the verdict that I am not worthy to be a resident advisor. I felt humiliated with the rejection. In retrospect, I found myself dwelling on thoughts about honor. Let us pause and hear the word of Jesus again, and see whether we can learn something from our embarrassing and humiliating experiences.