Sunday, August 28, 2016

Reflection: Luke 14:1, 7-14

The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 14:1, 7-14

On the Sabbath, Jesus was invited to dine at the house of a prominent Pharisee.  There were other guests in attendance and they intently observed Jesus.  When Jesus arrived, he noticed how many of the guests had vied for places of honor at the table.  After a time, Jesus said to the guests: “When you are invited to a wedding banquet, do not sit in a place of honor at table.  It may happen that a guest deserving of a place of honor may arrive and need a high seat of honor.  Thus, the host may approach you and ask you to give your place to the honored guest.  And you would experience the embarrassment of having to move down to a lower place.”

Jesus tells his listeners that it is better to take a lower place at the table.  Then the host may come to you and say: "My friend, move up higher.”  The other guests then may hold you in high esteem.  Jesus concludes with the statement: “For everyone who exalts himself/herself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself/herself will be exalted.”

In today’s world, individuals vie for fame, fortune, power, and status every day. The people who have achieved any of these advantages typically are held in high esteem.  However, Jesus completely reverses this idea.  He proposes that it is always best to choose a lower place rather than a higher place.  Thus, you will never be embarrassed by being asked to move to a lower place, and possibly you may be invited to move up to a higher place.

Status-seeking is rampant in our world.  Many people seek fame, power and recognition.  However, there also are many individuals who live their lives quietly and simply.  They are content with God, family, friends, and a simple lifestyle.  Fame may look glamorous.  However, almost every day in the newspaper or on television we hear stories of how the famous and the glamorous have fallen or been disgraced, often by their own choices.

Today Jesus encourages us to be content with what seems to be the lowly and least. Often it is in the small and seemingly insignificant gifts of everyday life where we may experience the greatest love, joy, peace, and contentment.  Today, be mindful and notice the many small gifts you receive.  Thank the giver and thank God!

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