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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Among the Humble

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 every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’’ Then he said to the host who invited him, ‘When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:1, 7-14).
Jesus continues his journey toward Jerusalem and shares yet another parable at the heart of which is the idea that assumptions can be risky.
The assumption that Jesus disproves is that the “very important people” are indeed the important people. Rather, Jesus suggests those who are considered the lowliest are the important ones and should be honored and invited. Today, celebrities and sports stars often take precedence and receive more praise and adulation than is appropriate. Yet, we often overlook those who are quietly reaching out to others without concern for return.
Jesus is telling us to pay attention. Not everyone worth listening to is at the head of the table. Sometimes the road to salvation can be found among those who aren’t at the feast, who can’t afford to indulge in sumptuous banquets. In fact, we may have to invite them personally, because they have never been invited before.
– What kind of people would you find hardest to invite to your banquet?
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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