Saturday of Week 30 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Luke 14:1, 7-11

Previously, we saw how Jesus was invited to have a sabbath meal in the house of a Pharisee. We saw how the religious leaders present watched him to see if he would heal a sick man who was placed in front of him so that they could accuse him of breaking the sabbath law. The man was healed and Jesus’ accusers were reduced to silence.

The story continues with Jesus commenting on the behaviour of the guests, each of whom vies for the honour of occupying the best places at the table. Speaking to them in the form of a parable, Jesus urges them to do the very opposite.

When invited to a wedding feast, it is quite dangerous, says Jesus, to go and take one of the best places because your host may come and ask you to give the place to someone else and you will lose a lot of face. On the contrary, says Jesus, make a point of going to the lowest place so that your host will come and say:

Friend, move up higher…

Because then:

…you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.

Of course, for someone with the mindset of the Pharisees, it was a risky thing to do as one might be left sitting at the bottom table!

Luke may not only have been thinking of Pharisees. It is possible that maneuvering for the places nearest to Jesus may have been a problem, even at the Last Supper. Recall that Luke says:

A dispute…arose among them [his Apostles] as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. (Luke 22:24)

Jesus concludes with a general principle:

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

It is another way of saying what Jesus has taught earlier, namely, that the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the one who puts himself at the disposal of others, who uses his gifts in serving the well-being of others and who has no interest whatever in titles, dignity, or status.

True Christians put their self-value in the kind of person they are for others, and not in some purely external trappings. They do not pretend to be something they are not. They do not compromise their behavior to conform to other people’s expectations or opinions. They live their lives authentically as followers of Christ.

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