True Strength

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.”
(Luke 14:1, 7-11)   

Scripture Study

14:1 One sabbath: Luke narrates five episodes when Jesus heals on the Sabbath (4:31–35, 38–39; 6:6–11; 13:10–17). See note on Lk 6:1. watching him: Jesus was the object of his enemies’ constant surveillance (6:7; 11:53–54).
14:10 sit in the lowest place: It is dishonorable to presume that one’s position, social or otherwise, will automatically win the favor of God (Prov 25:6–7).
14:11. Humility is so necessary for salvation that Jesus takes every opportunity to stress its importance. Here he uses the attitudes of people at a banquet to remind us again that it is God who assigns the places at the heavenly banquet. “Together with humility, the realization of the greatness of man’s dignity—and of the overwhelming fact that, by grace, we are made children of God—forms a single attitude. It is not our own efforts that save us and give us life; it is the grace of God. This is a truth which must never be forgotten” (St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing By, 133).
14:14 You will be repaid: God will look favorably on works of mercy at the Judgment (6:32–36; Mt 10:42; 25:34–36). resurrection of the just: i.e., the general resurrection (Jn 5:28–29; Acts 24:15).[1]

Reflection

“the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Humility is an attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in the recognition of one’s status before God. Humility is not something we can fake. God sees into the depths of our soul and knows the true intentions of our heart. Sometimes, in this journey through life, we can become proud and arrogant for what we have accomplished or we can become self-absorbed with the messages the world keeps feeding us about how important we are. This creates behaviors of dismissiveness and hardness of heart that distances us from others and God.

But in God’s compassion, he will often break us of this self-made pride, so that in our humility and brokenness, we may come to repentance and restoration with him and our fellow man. In today’s culture, we can struggle mightily with being humble as this is often associated with weakness, and the world today keeps telling we need to be ‘strong.’ But we have to accept the reality that this idea of humility is simply a mask for our need to control life. It takes more strength to acknowledge our need for God and others than it does to remain self-absorbed with ourselves.

Remember, the truest expression of obedience was the submission of Jesus Christ to the Father. Christ was willing to become human for humanity’s sake. He gave up his freedom of self so that he could serve others. In a world run amok of narcissistic behavior, Jesus shows us what real strength is all about.

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 135.