September 1, 2019: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: 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 one,’ 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.”
When I read this, I wonder why Jesus was ever invited back to another meal. Who tells the host whom they should invite and criticizes the way they do things? And the other thing that comes to my mind is: Is Jesus teaching us how to manipulate social situations? It seems these questions do nothing but reveal how far I am from the “kindom” of God.
Jesus’ values are so far apart from mine. Jesus is clear that we are all brothers and sisters, children of the one God, kin to one another. I guess he expects us to be with each other like brothers and sisters. Every table to him is a family table where people talk honestly to one another. I can’t imagine him sizing up the political stripes of his table companions. He just says what’s on his mind. Alcoholics anonymous is big on humility. They recommend things like getting down on your knees and praying to God because of the stark fact: there is ONE GOD and it’s not me.
Jesus knows humility as truth. He knows who he is and tells it as it is. Recently he recommended we become like children. I love the fact that the root of the word humility is humus, dirt. The good Earth accepts anything: seed, garbage, decay, anything. All the systems of Earth have worked together to bring good, it’s only now that our Earth is showing its limits.
Spend some time each day reflecting on the fact that “humility is truth.” How can I recognize that in myself and in others?