Gospel Reflection Aug 28 – Deacon Paul
Sunday, August 28
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 14:1, 7-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Today, Jesus is invited on the Sabbath to dine at the house of a prominent Pharisee, and, like most of the things the religious leaders invite Jesus to, they had an agenda. And, most of the time, their agenda was to catch Jesus in some heretical teaching, saying, or action. Today’s passage is certainly no different.
As Jesus often did, He took this occasion to teach, not only a particular advice on proper decorum in social gatherings, but most importantly, on the importance of the virtue of humility. For in the Kingdom of God, the law of humility is essential. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In today’s world, individuals seeking fame, fortune, power, and status is rampant. The people who have achieved any of these “gifts” are typically held in high esteem. However, Jesus completely reverses this idea when He proposes that it is always best to choose a lower place rather than a higher place.
The point that Jesus is making at this dinner is that humility is one of the marks of His Kingdom. Humble people make good disciples while proud people make for lousy followers. And the question for us is this, “Are we among the proud…or are we among the humble?”
How often do we draw attention to what we are doing for God, in an attempt to justify ourselves? For when we do this, it is the same thing as taking a “better seat” at the table.
Jesus tells us that God’s etiquette reminds us to invite the very least, the poor, lame, and blind. And when we show generosity to those who can never give in return, Jesus says that we will find out something incredible. For we will not be repaid in the usual way, but we will be repaid by the very God who created us.
Friends, the next time we seek that seat of honor, let us remember that our Lord and Savior took the worst seat of all for us…ON THE CROSS!
-Deacon Paul Zemanek