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Conduct of invited guests and hosts

Gospel Reading: Lk 14:1, 7-11
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.

Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ 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 exalted.”

This passage highlights the importance of genuine humility. The imagery recalls Prv 25:6-7, where the author writes that it is better for the host to call someone up than to assert oneself to try to get his attention. Humility means not reflecting social snobbery, not exalting oneself, and not thinking only of one’s own gain. God honors those who have friends on either end of the social ladder. This parable is a poignant story of genuinely relating in a needy world. Jesus tells it because the guests at the Pharisee’s table are choosing the places of honor. At dinner then, the table is usually in the shape of a U, and the host sits at the base. The seats of honor are located next to him.

Often the most honored guests arrive the latest. According to Jesus, you should not seek a seat of honor, for a more distinguished person may arrive who will get your seat. Then the host will ask you to move, and you will have to move to the least important seat. The principle of the passage is clearly v 11 – God will exalt those who humble themselves. The Kingdom is God’s gift. Though he owes his blessing and divine acceptance to no one, God makes the way to divine favor open to all.

In our encounter with others, do we ignore “unimportant” people?

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.