LUKE 14: 1. 7-14
HIS WORDâ€¦RATHER, WHEN YOU ARE INVITED, GO AND TAKE THE LOWEST PLACE SO THAT WHEN THE HOST COMES TO YOU HE MAY SAY, â€˜MY FRIEND, MOVE UP TO A HIGHER POSITION.â€™ THEN YOU WILL ENJOY THE ESTEEM OF YOUR COMPANIONS AT THE TABLE. FOR EVERYONE WHO EXALTS HIMSELF WILL BE HUMBLED, BUT THE ONE WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF WILL BE EXALTEDâ€¦
my wordsâ€¦We are now on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the First Reading and the Gospel center on the virtue of â€œhumilityâ€. Here Jesus presented a parable understandable within the cultural context of the Jewish people during the time of Jesus. In this parable, Jesus sounded like breaking the social decorum or social grace in a party or in a celebration based on the Jewish customs and practices. Here in the Philippines, these cultural decorum or grace or practices are quite familiar especially in wedding celebrations. Filipinos are experts in terms of planning and preparing an affair, and who are to be invited to the said celebration. And the planners (which have already become a service-provider business in the Philippines) have already planned and prepared the slots at table for the celebrants and honorees, the primary entourage, the secondary entourage, and the rest of the attendees and guests. They now even prepare a slot for gatecrashersfor they are the ones who may lack the etiquette and the proper decorum in formal banquet or celebration. And yet even these gatecrashers themselves have this attitude of looking for a better place and better food in a banquet. But what is Jesus driving at in this parable for the guest and the host? Answer: the virtue of â€œhumilityâ€ coupled with â€œgenerosityâ€.
Brothers and Sisters, natural attitudes can become so spontaneous in social gatherings that they speak and reflect on of who and what we are. And this is where Jesus is calling us to be humble, â€œDo not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by the hostâ€ (Lk 14:8). The scenario is indeed familiar in a wedding banquet and this place is what we call the â€œpresidential tableâ€ where honored guests and dignitaries are treated together with the principal sponsors, the secondary entourage, and other VIPs. It is indeed â€œhonorableâ€ to be there! And who can be in this place? Culturally, they are the political hierarchy: the Barangay Captain, the Mayor, the Governor, the Congressman, the Senator, or if graced politically, the President of the country; but most hosts sometimes give preference to the priests and bishops for this place. That is why we need to be sensitive and extra careful who ought to be in these prestigious seats.
And in hosting, we usually and culturally display preference of inviting over our close relatives, friends and associates to our banquets. But Jesus said, â€œInvite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay youâ€ (Lk 14:13-14). What does Jesus mean here? Answer: in our joyful celebrations, let us not forget the destitute, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized of our society. The minimum that we can do: have packed lunch for them.
Brothers and Sisters, to be humble and to be generous are qualities and virtues always pleasing to the Lord. Let us not fail Him; let us always be humble and generous in dealing with people especially the poor of the Lord.
GOD BLESS THE HUMBLE, THE GENEROUS, AND THE POOR… (By Fr. Julius C. Lupot)