Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that he is “meek and humble of heart.” Yet just a few lines before this, he says that he is equal to his Father, the almighty God. So how can the Son of God be both meek and mighty?

For Jesus, being meek does not mean letting people push him around. If he were meek in that sense, he could not have thrown the moneychangers out of the temple. Jesus’ meekness meant doing the will of God completely. The challenge for us comes
in his words “learn from me.” We must learn to do God’s will as completely as Jesus did.

First, it means that we do all that God wants of us. We cannot pick and choose what we want to do and what we want to ignore. If some things seem too difficult or painful for us, we may need more faith in Jesus’ ability to make the burden easy. For example, sometimes we may hear Jesus’ command to love one another and reserve the right to love whom we choose. Or we may reserve the right to decide which teachings of the Church we will follow. But doing God’s will completely means doing it without reservation.

Second, we may try to do all that God asks, but give up if something becomes too difficult. We may say we forgive someone, for example, but when they reject that forgiveness, we become even angrier. Or we may tire of being patient with someone and be verbally hurtful. Or maybe we agree to help on a parish project but quit when someone disagrees with us. We can learn from Jesus how to do each part of God’s will to completion, as Jesus did all the way to the cross.

So how is the Son of God humble?

True humility means acknowledging who we are and what we can do. Jesus is simply being humble when he says that he is equal to the Father. So too, we are humble when we do not hide the fact that we are children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus. Instead of a false modesty that claims “I’m not good enough to follow all of God’s commands,” it takes true humility to accept that we can do God’s will because the Spirit is with us to help us.

-Tom Schmidt