The Lord tells us to humble ourselves in today's Gospel (Matthew 23:1-12). In a world that always tries to tell us that being famous, important, rich, powerful is what we should all be striving for, His message is really going against the grain. But then, that is what Jesus usually did.
In contrasting those who exalt themselves and those who humble themselves, the Lord shows in a really clear way the differences. We are tempted so often to see ourselves as the "gold standard" against which everyone else should be measured. And it is a constant struggle to fight this temptation. I know that I can certainly quote what the law, rules, norms, regulations say about any number of different things. I also know that I can find what I perceive to be "loopholes" in almost all of them if I get too uncomfortable. But that is certainly not following the example of Jesus.
Just imagine, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, having to listen to so many so-called experts blather on about any number of topics. And He, who humbled Himself to become human and, forsaking His almighty power, needed to learn just as any other human being, was subjected to these scribes and Pharisees, and would be judged and condemned by those who could not even begin to comprehend who He really was.
This was a true example of humility in action. And yet I can get so full of myself that I think I know so much more than others? When I examine my life, I find an uncomfortable amount of ways that I am no better than these scribes and Pharisees. I need to take time during Lent to re-examine the way I deal with others and eliminate the tendency to "exalt" myself. It is not easy, but I know that if I do not humble myself now, I will surely be humbled later. And that will definitely be much more uncomfortable than anything I could possibly experience in this life!