In the first reading fromÂ Philippians 1, St. Paul struggles with whether he would rather stick around on earth or go home toÂ be with the Lord. Not a true death wish, but recognizing that the life to come will be eternity with Christ. But Paul realizes that he has a mission on earth to complete. Â In the Gospel reading today from Luke 14, Jesus is eating at the home of a leading Pharisee.
He tells a parable about a guy who, when invited to a wedding banquet, heads straight for the place of honor and takes a seat. When someone of greater stature arrives, this guy would have to tuck his tail between his legs and head for the lowest place. So Jesus advises that we make a beeline to the lowest place. He ends with, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The lowest place is not somewhere we naturally gravitate towards. This is, I believe, the result of pride. We think ourselves to be better than others. We have more money, a more prestigious job, nicer clothes, etc. We fail to remember that, in God’s eyes, we are all the same. True humility is when we recognize this, and act accordingly.
Father, teach us to humble ourselves. Forgive us for those many times when we think we are better than someone else. Teach us to seek out the lowest place. Amen.