Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus gives us good advice on how to behave at a formal banquet, say, at a wedding. It’s no good trying to sit at the head table when you’re not in the wedding party, or if you’re unsure whether or not you’ve been assigned a seat there.
How can we use this teaching apart from formal dinners? “When you are invited, go and take the lowest place… Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus is promoting a form of humility, but we should be careful not to interpret this teaching in such a way that it amounts to little more than saying “Seek to avoid being the center of attention. Be an introvert, not an extrovert.” I don’t think this is what Jesus is teaching us.
Jesus has also taught us that “blessed are the meek,” and “blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.” The blessing comes to those who don’t always have things done their way. The blessing comes to those who suffer insults and persecutions. We should be people who are actively seeking the blessings not of power and fame, but of meekness and insult. And yet, we are so reluctant, sometimes, to take up our cross and follow Jesus. A good king, according to St. Ignatius Loyola, invites his subjects thus: “whoever wishes to join me… must work with me by day and watch with me by night, etc., that as he has had a share in the toil with me, afterwards, he may share in the victory with me.” My friends, let us be quick to accompany our crucified King in all his toils, and may He reward us with His grace.