All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11
O God, you invite the humble and the sinful to take their place in the festive assembly of the new covenant; teach your Church always to honour the presence of the Lord so that we may learn to recognize each other as brothers and sisters gathered together around your table.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
- Jeremiah 2:4-13
- Psalm 81: 1, 10-16
- Heb 13:1-8, 15-16
- Luke 14:1, 7-14
- Jeremiah 18:1-11
- Psalm 139:1-5, 12-18
- Phil 1-25
- Luke 14:25-35
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted . . .“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.
Gospel humility (a key theme of Luke’s Gospel) is not a religious sado-masochism motivated by self-hatred or obsequiousness. As taught by Christ, humility is an awareness of who we are before God; of our constant need for God and our dependence on God for everything; of the limitlessness of God’s love and forgiveness. The Jesus of the Gospel, “who, though in the form of God, humbled himself . . . accepting even death on the cross” is the perfect model of the humble servant of God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to embrace the attitude of seeking out the “lowest places” at table for the sake of others, promising that at the banquet of heaven God will exalt such humility. In teaching us to invite to our tables “those who cannot repay you,” Jesus challenges us to imitate the love of God: doing what is right, good and just for the joy of doing so, not out of a sense of duty, self-interest or the need to feel superior or in control.
Humility is the virtue of suspending our own wants and needs in order to consciously seek God in all people and experiences. True humility is centred in the things of God – love, compassion, mercy, selflessness, tolerance and forgiveness.
The spirit of humility as taught by Jesus is not the diminishing of one’s self but the realization that we share with every human being the sacred dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God. To be humble as Christ teaches humility is to see one another as God sees us and to rejoice in being ministers to them in their joys and struggles.
The “lowest place” Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel is more a matter of attitude than location, a question of generosity rather than place setting: Jesus asks us to see one another from the perspective of Gospel humility that realizes that we are not the centre of all things but part of a much larger world and to embrace a spirit of Gospel-centred gratitude for all the blessings we have received, not because of anything we have done to deserve them, but only because of the complete and unconditional love of God for us.
God’s banquet table includes places of honour for every poor, hurting, confused soul. At the Gospel banquet table, we are both guests and servers: We welcome and are welcomed as children of the same God and Father; as sons and daughters of God, we share equally in the bounty of this table; as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the vineyard given to us by our loving Father.
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