Sir 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Heb 12:18-19, 22-24
Gospel. Lk 14:1, 7-14
The first reading from the Book of Sirach for this Sunday’s liturgy tells us,
“My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.”
Jesus also teaches about humility in the gospel reading when he says, “…those who exalt themselves will be humbled.” This very clear message takes place in the context of Jesus being invited to a dinner at the home of a Pharisee. He sees guests choosing to sit in places of honor. He teaches the guests when he tells a parable about what might happen when a person chooses the best seat only to be embarrassed when someone more important arrives to get that place instead.
He goes on to tell them, “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.”
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they shouldn’t invite people who can pay them back. Instead “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.”
This teaching of Jesus is far more important than correct etiquette. It’s advice about how we will find our place in the Kingdom of God. First, we must be humble by recognizing that all people are important in God’s eyes. Second, we are to accept all people regardless of their station in life – the crippled, the lame, the blind. rich or poor. Third, don’t live with a quid pro quo attitude that expects any kind of repayment for what we do for others.
We can use this gospel reading as sound advice on how we are to live as committed Christians and good citizens of our society. Hopefully, we can live in such a way that we use our gifts for others – not for any kind of payback except God’s approval – and not that of people.
In what ways do you use your time, talent and treasure for others without seeking praise?
How does your understanding of humility make you a good Christian and member of our society?