Saturday, November 3, 2012

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.”

"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are." – Mother Teresa

(Gospel Text: Lk 14:1, 7-11)
On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
"When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
'Give your place to this man,'
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
'My friend, move up to a higher position.'
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Many of us go through life with a sense of entitlement. We expect the best seat on an airliner, protest when we are not served better at a restaurant, or cry foul when not given the recognition we deserve at home or work. Although everyone likes to be treated well, Jesus’ parable reminds us of the dangers of thinking too highly of ourselves.

When it is “all about me” we often forget about the “them.”

And as in both Luke 14:1 and in our own lives, the “them” is often the less fortunate and marginalized. So, Jesus reminds us of the importance of humbling ourselves to others. Care less about our stature and more about others’ well being, especially those who are poor, discriminated against, imprisoned, or experience mental health problems. Humbling ourselves and serving others not only helps those being served, but psychological research demonstrates its powerfully positive impact on the server as well. And, more importantly, by humbling ourselves in front of God, He will exalt us!

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