Hubris and Humility

St. Camillus de Lellis (USA)
Isaiah 10:5-7, 13b-16; Matthew 11:25-27

Hubris and Humility

In recent days we’ve seen all too well what happens when a leader is too sure of himself, so invested in his own convictions and opinions that he fails to see or acknowledge the actual evidence to the contrary.  We’ve also seen a cardinal of the Church removed from ministry and being held to account for his own “#MeToo moment.”  

Power can be intoxicating, and sometimes one can become so drunk with it, so filled with hubris, that someone else needs to intervene and take away the keys or insist on becoming the designated driver. 

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God in essence tells the leaders of Assyria that he will take away their keys.  Having experienced military and political success, they had become full of hubris, convinced that their triumphs were the result of their own courage, cunning and wisdom.  They failed to recognize the ultimate sovereignty of God, who rhetorically asks:

            Will the axe boast against him who hews with it?
            Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it?
            As if a rod could sway him who lifts it,
            or a staff him who is not wood!—Isaiah 10:15

Jesus, by contrast, after reproaching the unrepentant towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida, praises his Father for revealing “to the childlike” the truth of his preaching and the reality of the kingdom of God.  Their humility has enabled them to receive true power and to know how to use it.  We pray for the grace to follow their example.—JC