Reading 1 Phil 1:18b-26
Responsorial Psalm Ps 42:2, 3, 5cdef
Gospel Lk 14:1, 7-11
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives instructions on how to make a good impression on people. Jesus chooses concrete situations, understood well by those he was addressing, and uses them as sort of metaphors to teach us about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus’ message in this Gospel is that there’s no room for pride, for self-glorification in God’s Kingdom. Here he’s making a profoundly spiritual point. It’s the same point he’s made over and over again throughout his public life: “He who is the greatest among you, is servant of all.” “Service is the hallmark of my disciple.” “You must wash one another’s feet.” We all welcome honors; we all gobble up praise. Desire for recognition is a powerful stimulus that can push aside Christ-like motivation that can urge upon us a type of behavior that is hardly in accord with Christ’s values. We would think this is the vulnerable point in the armor of a Christian politician. Is this individual’s strongest motivation the service of his country and his constituents or is it the need for approval, the desire to win reelection or to hold on to power? Is this individual a person of principle?
One scholar ends his commentary on today’s Gospel by speaking of humility as the most difficult of all commandments. So difficult is it that even Christians have to see an exultation offered as a reward: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”