Today’s Thoughts: In a word our readings today at about humility. In our first reading from the Book of Sirach we hear the echoes of traditional Jewish teachings concerning right conduct. Basically, these verses say, “Remember who you are and who you are not.”
Remember you are gifted by God and when you remain peacefully grateful you will experience being loved by God and others.
A wise person listens deeply. The wise person searches and allows mystery to be a friend rather than a humiliating enemy which must be defeated or ignored. As water can subdue flames, generosity to the poor extinguishes the fire of past sins.
This way of living life is both instructive and practical. The challenge is always to live out the words of wisdom. You might say it is always a work in progress. Humility is gratitude which allows us to be comfortable in our own skin. When we cover up or withdrawal we are not being humble or shy, we are allowing pride to take over. We are saying that we really should have been created with more gifts and until they appear, we will not.
In our Gospel Luke has Jesus responding to an invitation to dinner at a leading Pharisee’s house. There are two keys that this is not ordinary dinner. First the other at the dinner are watching Jesus with the intent to trap him. These are people I often refer to as the “Temple Police” or perhaps in today’s terms they are the “Liturgical Police”. Jesus notices the pharisaical practices of the guests maneuvering for the places of honor and recognition. So he intensifies their interest in him by telling a story that is aimed right at their insincerity.
The story seems to be about table manners and where one should sit at a wedding feast, however it is really about how one sits at the table of life. Being invited to life means that we are in fact invited and have no entitled rites other than to eat what is placed before us and to sit where they find themselves. The Eternal Inviter to the feast of life will bless those who have eaten well and gratefully for the whole meal. This blessing is the Eternal Host saying, “My friend, move up to a higher position.”
The “higher position” would be a place of honor, which, for Luke, means a place of sharing with the needy the gifts received at God’s table. This image is made more clear as Jesus then turns to the host of the dinner and speaks to him about whom he should invite to such dinners.
Jesus states clearly to the host that when he invites his friends and the wealthy to dine, they can repay you and so you have your reward. The challenge to the host is to use his dining facilities and wealth to care for those who cannot repay him, because then the Eternal Host who has set his table, will then repay him at the eternal banquet.
That which makes a person truly attractive is that comfortableness in their own skin, which is true humility. Just as sitting in a quiet, peaceful place is comforting, walking with people who are comfortable with their own skin often bring peace into our life, you might say it rests us. Remember humility is truth in action, generosity in public, and joyfulness in being invited.
Have a great Sunday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...