We are called by our Savior to be humble and to extend ourselves to those who are so often rejected...
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 28, 2022): SIR 3:17-18,20,28-29; PS 68:4-5,6-7,10-11; HEB 12:18-19,22-24; LK 14:1,7-14
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
This includes our sisters and brothers who are poor, handicapped, or otherwise troubled or in need.
The Gospel reading for this Sunday take place at a sabbath meal at the home of an important Pharisee. Jesus takes the opportunity to tell a parable encouraging His listeners to act with humility. Rather than pushing themselves forward to places of honor, He tells them to do the opposite. “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’” (Luke 14:10-11). Christ does not want people to pretend to be humble in order to gain the benefit of both appearing to have this virtue and, at the same time, getting what they really wanted all along -- a prominent seat at the table. Our Lord wants them to embrace humility because pride makes us focus on ourselves and our wants, our desires. Humility, on the other hand, focuses on our relationship with God and with other people. It opens our eyes and our hearts to the truth: that we are dependent on God for everything. Moreover, we are really inflating our sense of self-worth by putting down and looking down on others. There can be no room in a heart filled with selfishness for God Himself or for His children -- our own brothers and sisters if only we recognize them.
Having focused on the behavior of guests, Jesus then turned to that of hosts. “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 14:13-14). What must our Lord’s host, as well as the other guests, have thought about this startling notion? Giving alms to the poor and handicapped was one thing -- but inviting them into your home? But Jesus wants us to know that caring about and caring for those who will never benefit us, never be able to do us favors, is what God wants from us. When we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves, we are not allowed to pick and choose. God loves us and every single human being, every child He created. And He expects us to do the same.