Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Brothers and sisters: You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.
Gospel Cycle Cycle C
Luke 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 every one 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.”
The readings today challenge us to examine how we think about ourselves. Do we think that we have the answers to life? Are we able to lead others? Do we value the opinions others and delight in being held in great esteem? Do we think that we have the answers to life?
The readings are telling us so clearly: only the humble person can begin to understand the work of God in our world and in ourselves. Only when we are still and silent before the mystery of God are we able to begin to see God at work in our world.
The Book of Sirach, from which comes the first reading, tells us that What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. Today so many of us claim to have the answers to the great challenges of life. This Sirach wants us to know that we are deluding ourselves. What we need to do is be still before the Holy Scriptures and allow ourselves to be formed by the Holy Scriptures. Even then, we must be humble and accept what the Scriptures say. Far too often we want to explain away what the Scriptures are telling us and put in their place the insights of the modern world.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews, tells us that we will only know the truth if we are willing to listen to Jesus Christ. It is His blood that will enlighten us. So many today don’t believe at all in Jesus and would like His teaching eliminated. Yet if we want to know the truth, it can only be found in Him. In order to know Him and hear Him, we must humble ourselves and listen.
The Gospel today, from Saint Luke, speaks also to this capacity that we have to take the lowest place. When we take the lowest place, we might begin to hear the truth and to live the truth. Instead, we are often blinded by our own way of thinking, by our insisting that we know more than others and by our insistence to choose truth rather than to be formed by the truth of Jesus Christ.
At the heart of the Scriptures we find a clear message: accept Jesus Christ and walk in His ways. Listen to Him and you will be changed. Live as He did and you will find a truth that you did not have before. Even stronger than that: listen to His Church and be formed by His Church because He Himself has left us the Church as His presence in our world.
My sisters and brothers, the question is simple: are we looking for the truth in Jesus Christ or are we trying to use Jesus Christ to justify what we want to do?
Let us reflect today on the word of God and ask the Lord to open our hearts so that it is truly Jesus that we seek, truly Jesus that we follow and truly Jesus whom we desire in all.