JESUS is an unparalleled example of humility. True humility is not low self-esteem. Neither is humility false modesty, as when someone makes a show of being humble in order to be praised. "No, no, I'm not all that good!" Jesus never played such games, and he certainly was not troubled with low self-esteem.

Humility, it is sometimes suggested, is to make the proper estimate of one's self. Jesus made no claims and took no credit. He invariably turned the spotlight on the power and presence of God. Examples of this deference are everywhere in the Gospels, including in our two verses for today.

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While Jesus was speaking a woman was overcome with the majesty of what he was saying. In a typical gesture of praise, she honored the mother who bore Jesus by calling her blessed.

Jesus turned the compliment aside and corrected the woman. "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" We need to see that the woman was not praising Mary per se, but was praising Jesus. And Jesus was in no way denigrating Mary but was helping the woman understand what really mattered.

Those who are truly "blessed" are those who apprehend the will of God and do it. They are both blessed by God and know the blessedness of genuine fulfillment. They work to relieve human suffering in blighted neighbors and third-world countries. They offer themselves to be used in God's great work of reconciliation.

They take up their crosses and follow Jesus.