On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.
But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Do I want to be the center of attention? To have my importance validated by others? To be rewarded when I’ve done something good for others? Jesus says in today’s Gospel that any of these can be an obstacle to my doing God’s work.
Who are the people I eat with? The people I spend time with? The people I seek out? Who they are shows me who is important in my life and who isn’t.
Given my answers to these questions, what is my life’s banquet like? Am I happy with the picture? What do I like about it? Would I change any part of it? How?
—Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J. serves as Director of Jesuit Retreat House, Oshkosh, WI.
Lord, while it’s not unusual to be critical of people who “seek the place of honor,” it’s far more difficult to recognize such behavior in ourselves. Anytime we begin to covet recognition or force our opinion on others, we begin moving toward that “seat of honor.” We greatly desire that your Spirit keep us from rationalizing our motives in such situation. This day should the “seat of honor,” be within our glance, let us stay focused on what really matters — using our position, power, and authority for your greater glory.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team