Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 127. 22nd Sunday C. Sirach 3:17-18.20.28-29.
Psalm 68:4-5,6-7, 10–11. Hebrews 12:18-19.22-24. Luke 14:1.17-14.
Luke is the Evangelist who has more scenes about dinners and parties than
the other three gospels. There may be Eucharistic themes behind some of
these themes as we will see in the Acts of the Apostles. Today’s episode
however offers Jesus a teaching moment about how to present oneself at such
gatherings when one is invited. We have seen from another parable that it
is important to show up for the wedding banquet. Here Jesus is the one
invited by a religious leader with some of his friends paying close
attention to Jesus to see what he will do.
His wisdom leads him to tell a parable and at the same time his humility
and politeness carry out what he says in that parable.
Jesus includes himself as among those who would not seek the better and
higher places at table. He is among the poor, the marginal, and the ones
who are not well. His parable makes sense to the listeners for he himself
carries it out. He does not simply “talk the talk;” he also “walks the
Jesus probably did enjoy a place of honor at this invitation for he is the
one who narrates the parable and certainly applies it to himself as a good
teacher would do. He helps us to understand how important it is to be among
the servants of God as he tells the observers, “For everyone who exalts
himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” The
story may seem like a lesson in proper behavior at a meal to which one is
invited, but we see from the parable that Jesus is concerned about those
who normally are not invited–the beggars, the crippled, lame, and the
blind. The observers certainly were attracted by his words but could not
follow his actions. He nevertheless gives them his wisdom to offer them an
opportunity of doing some inviting of the poor and the unwanted.
Luke also is involved in what is being said by Jesus for he is interested
in helping his own Christian community to be faithful to Jesus’ words and
example. Fr. Karris says, “In Luke’s communities people from different
walks of life and from different nations are like friends as they have all
things in common. (see Acts 4:32). Luke also is giving secular wisdom a
theological orientation: God will not be fooled by one’s self-promotion.”
We may wish to pray about this parable by turning to the beautiful lesson
that Mary gives us in her Magnificat. It would be a good way of praying the
parable at the end of the day thus recalling what Jesus wanted to teach us.