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Conduct of invited guests and hosts

Gospel Reading: Lk 14:1, 7-14

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.” Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, 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. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

REFLECTIONS

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. Jesus states here a divine policy as the point of His parable, or its reverse, “The one who humbles himself will be exalted.” You may smile when you hear the Lord noting how people seek the first places at table. But that still happens. How many want to take the front places nearest the Pope during papal audiences! And in our parishes there is often competition for the favor of the parish priest (pagpapalapad ng papel kay Father).
Jesus ties up His lesson on humility with a lesson on generosity. Generosity means being open-hearted and openhanded to those in need. Thus we should be generous not only to those who can return us the favor, but to those who need our help.

When I was in the San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila, my parochial vicar, Fr. Fernando Carpio, was celebrating his birthday. I told him that I was going to have a dinner for him. He could invite those he wanted. After the evening Mass, I brought up members of the different organizations to the birthday dinner. I was distressed when I found out that we were running short of food. I asked the cook why this was so. She said, “Don’t blame me, Bishop. Fr. Carpio earlier brought up street people to eat.” When I mentioned this to Fr. Carpio, he simply said, “Is that not what the Lord told us to do in the gospel?”

Who would you invite for your next birthday celebration?

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2012,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.,); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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