30th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Phil 1:18b-26
Brothers and sisters: As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Indeed, I shall continue to rejoice, for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me when I come to you again.
Gospel: Lk 14:1, 7-11
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.”
STRIVING FOR BECOMING THE LITTLE NOTHING: It is not about choosing the lower place with the ulterior motive of getting recognized! It is about having no desire at all for positions and recognitions. Jesus asks us to walk the opposite direction – to seek no glory for oneself, to be humble. And when one is humble inadvertently importance will come to him or her. Mary sings in Magnificat that God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. God is the one who exalts. For Paul all the glory that the world thinks important is of no worth considering the surpassing value of knowing Christ. St. Mary of Jesus Crucified (1846-1878) calls herself “the little nothing” acknowledging her nothingness in front of God. She says, “Humility is happiness being nothing… blessed are those who are small!” We need to strive to look important in the eyes of God, not men.
Prayer: Jesus, make our heart humble and meek like yours.
TAKING THE LOWEST POSITION: Jesus in the gospel, teaches us humility. We are to take the lowest of positions when invited in banquets. Taking high positions may bring us embarrassment, for they may be reserved for important guests. It is better to be at a low position, then elavated to a higher one. Looking at our society’s rapid descent into selfishness and self-promotion, Jesus speaks to us. In our daily lives, we must be humble in order for God to uplift us. God is not happy when we show others pride and arrogance. Remember pride comes before a fall. We must not wait for the fall to be humble. God uplifts the humble and brings down the proud. This is the message in the Magnificat. Let us live a humble life in order to receive honor from God.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to embrace humility so that you may elevate us for your honor.
THE GAIN OF BELONGING TO JESUS: The winner is rewarded with the trophy of the tournament. In a similar way, Jesus will crown us as victors though in him there are no losers. To live is benefit and death is gain. My Christian living should be beneficial to others. As Christians we are called to live our lives for others by evangelizing them and showing them the path to heaven. Many people fear death, but death for a Christian is gain; it is a pathway to new life. Christ who conquered death will raise those who die believing in him. They enter eternal life to be with the Lord. It is after this life that we receive what we have hoped for and proclaimed to others. After death a righteous Christian enters heavenly glory to behold the beatific vision of God, and to see God as he really is. What a Christian needs is the virtue of humility which is the mother of all virtues. By humility, a Christian puts others first and higher than himself. Only proud people put themselves before others and take important or honorary places at banquets. They are ashamed when they are lowered down.