INHERITING THE PLACE OF HONOUR AT THE HEAVENLY BANQUET
Meals played an important role in the society in which Jesus lived.
The places that a person ate – at the home of a tax collector Luke 5:29, the people with whom a person ate: ‘sinners’ Luke 5:30, whether a person washed before eating Luke 11:38, and, as is the case here, the place that a person sits while eating, were all important.
In today’s gospel, Jesus warns guests coming for a banquet to wait before taking their places at the table lest they be asked to move if someone more important arrives.
This is more than just a lesson about dinner etiquette. It is an advice on how to find our true place in the Kingdom of God, and on how we can find true happiness at the heavenly banquet by what we do rightly here on earth.
Jesus invites us to think of ourselves as always, the last and the least, this calls for humility, it has nothing to do with poor self-image nor with psychological problems! Rather, it is an invitation to live in truth with others and to forge a new relationship by changing our way of thinking and dealing with them.
The gospel of today invites us to think about how we think and act in relationship to others. When we are in the company of others, do we put ourselves first or do we stay in the background unless we are called forward?
As a practical spiritual exercise, today we might try to be still and silent and just listen to others and see what that listening does to us. If we listen attentively, we will know that we are humble as humility is regarded as having an attentive ear.
Humility is also known in a person who listens attentively to wisdom stories, to proverbs and to real life situations, these help us not only to understand ourselves and others, but also to respect them.
The climax of today’s good news is: ‘The importance of humility and simplicity in our Christian journey.’
Most importantly as the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2559 states; “Humility is the foundation of prayer.” Only a humble heart can come to God in prayer. “Humility and the fear of the Lord brings wealth, honour, and life” (Proverbs 22, 4).
A humble person is always ready to ask for guidance from God and others. They are also ready to listen and learn from others. It takes humility to say please, and, to ask for forgiveness.
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the model of humility for us. Though a guest of honour at a wedding, she does not take the honoured seat, but instead gets involved in household chores, it’s there that she notices the shortage of wine, it would be an embarrassment for the Bridal couple, so she in all humility approaches her son and intercedes for them, “Son they have no wine.” Jesus could not refuse this humble plea and he works a miracle, but not until the stewards, humbly heed her advice, “Do as he tells you.”
So, let us humbly implore the Lord, that we too, may acquire this humility by his grace, as we pray: “O Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. From the desire to be honoured and esteemed deliver me!”
Fr George Carlos