leading Pharisees for a meal and they were "watching him closely." Why were they doing this?
Maybe Jesus was only invited as possible entertainment. Perhaps they were thinking that he would work a miracle for them after dinner! If you use your imagination, you can just picture a very humorous situation. The Guests
at a Sabbath banquet are jockeying for position; trying to get the best seats in
the house ; being as close to the Host as they possibly could. Just picture a
sort of a mad scramble, a kind of rich-man's game of musical chairs! After all,
this was an honour-and-shameful society, where your gain was always someone else's loss; and the name of the game was to gain as much as you could at someone else's expense. So there was a reason for their mad scramble for seats of honour.
Now, the guests may have been "watching him closely," but Jesus was watching them closely, too! Jesus never passes up a teachable moment, and this event, a rich-people-only banquet, was no exception. He challenges two
things. First, he challenges the system itself – a system that would encourage selfish behaviour, a system that causes half of the guests to be shamed and the other half to be honoured. So he says, just wait: let the Host determine where people will be sitting.
Then he gets after the Invitees. He says, stop all of this class discrimination, a sort of back-scratching arrangement where if I invite you, you become obligated to return the favour and invite me back for dinner. Instead, don't invite people to gain a future pay-back. Instead, invite those who can’t pay back the favour; then your motives will be aligned with God’s will.
This is a good time for each one of us to take a good look at our motivations in social settings, work settings, and similar interactions. Why do we do the things we do? Is it to gain an advantage, to make someone obligated,
to increase our prestige? That’s something worth thinking about isn’t it?
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM!
This gospel today (Luke 14:1,7-14) is all about humility, the admission ticket to the eternal banquet. Remember, we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Article 526 of the Catechism says that to become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God.” Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Then, Article 2546 reminds us that “Poverty of spirit” is
a virtue we must actively seek for “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs.