GOSPEL READING: Luke 14:1, 7-11
1 One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. 7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Meditation: Who wants to be last? Isn’t it only natural to desire respect and esteem from others? Jesus’ parable of the guests invited to the marriage feast probes our motives for seeking honor and position. Self-promotion is most often achieved at the expense of others! Jesus’ parable reinforces the teaching of Proverbs: Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of the prince (Proverbs 25:6-7).
True humility frees us to be our true selves as God sees us
What is true humility and why should we make it a characteristic mark of our life and action? True humility is not feeling bad about yourself, or having a low opinion of yourself, or thinking of yourself as inferior to others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, whereas a low self-opinion tends to focus our attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves truthfully, with sober judgment, means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1-4). A humble person makes a realistic assessment of himself or herself without illusion or pretense to be something he or she is not. The humble regard themselves neither smaller nor larger than they truly are.
True humility frees us to be our true selves and to avoid despair and pride. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others, especially to those who are not really familiar with that person. The humble are not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure.
True humility frees us to love and serve selflessly for the good of others
Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to view and judge ourselves correctly, the way God sees us. Humility leads to true self-knowledge, honesty, realism, strength, and dedication to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others selflessly, for their sake, rather than our own. Paul the Apostle, gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). The Lord Jesus gives grace – his abundant favor and help – to all who humbly seek him. Do you want to be a servant as Jesus served?
Psalm 68:4-8a, 10-11
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds; his name is the LORD, exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
6 God gives the desolate a home to dwell in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity.
7 O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, [Selah]
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, at the presence of God
10 Your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
11 The Lord gives the command; great is the host of those who bore the tidings:
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Jesus calls us to be humble, modest, and praiseworthy, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“‘When,’ he says, ‘a man more honorable than you comes, he that invited you and him will say, ‘Give this man place.’ Oh, what great shame is there in having to do this! It is like a theft, so to speak, and the restitution of the stolen goods. He must restore what he has seized because he had no right to take it. The modest and praiseworthy person, who without fear of blame might have claimed the dignity of sitting among the foremost, does not seek it. He yields to others what might be called his own, that he may not even seem to be overcome by empty pride. Such a one shall receive honor as his due. He says, ‘He shall hear him who invited him say, “Come up here.”… If any one among you wants to be set above others, let him win it by the decree of heaven and be crowned by those honors that God bestows. Let him surpass the many by having the testimony of glorious virtues. The rule of virtue is a lowly mind that does not love boasting. It is humility. The blessed Paul also counted this worthy of all esteem. He writes to those who eagerly desire saintly pursuits, ‘Love humility.'” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 101.5)