August 28, 2016
SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29 PS 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11 HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A LK 14:1, 7-14
“Be in the world, but not of the world;” is a verse that we all bandy about from time to time without really thinking of the difficult road that calls us to walk. We are called to be humble in a world which no longer understands that word.
We live in a world of digital friendships and social media, where people dress for dinner after first seeking the opinions of strangers, and don’t make major decisions before soliciting thoughts of people they will never know; where fame is won not because of great deeds or intellect, but by the thousands of followers and the number of “likes” you are able to collect. In a world of shallowness and surface appearances, today’s Gospel stands in stark opposition to what the world tells us is important.
” when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place”
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.”
Simply put, Jesus is telling us to get over ourselves and our social conventions – stop expecting quid pro quo or relying upon our supposed popularity with other people. We are to be generous to the “undeserving” and to those who can’t “do” anything for us, to avoid the place of honor whether or not it is “rightfully ours” because the glory and honor is not truly ours. It belongs to God who created us in all our stubborn and worldly pride.
And maybe, just maybe, when we stop looking for the approval of the world, then we will see the promises of the second reading:
“the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven”
because that’s the only feast it really matters to attend.