In today’s Gospel reading Jesus challenges several social norms of his culture...he challenges the negative connotations surrounding humility and social status.
Jesus encourages us to consider “taking a lower seat” at the banquet table rather than seeking a place of honor. He warns that if you seek places of honor, you may well be asked to step down when someone of greater importance shows up to the banquet...implying that there is always someone of higher status than yourself.
No doubt Jesus is hinting that we need to cultivate an attitude of humility...last week’s Gospel warned us that at the heavenly banquet “some who are first in this world will be last in the Kingdom and some who are last in this world will be first will be first in the Great Banquet.”
True humility is based on understanding and accepting who we really are in grand scheme of the universe. And not allowing “self-importance” to get in the way of our discipleship of Jesus Christ.
Humility is not born of a lack of self-esteem or rooted in self-loathing, but rather, comes from knowing our true place in the world, and accepting God’s deep and passionate love for each one of us.
So, we do not seek to wallow in self-pity or in curating a poor self-image; no, we are called to humbly rejoice in the fact that we are the beloved of God.
And, we are called to acknowledge that each of our sisters and brothers are also the beloved of God, regardless of their social status or life conditions.
Our sacred scriptures tell us that the humble will be raised up and the mighty will be brought low...clearly it is better to be among the lowly who God will raise up than to be one of the haughty who will be brought low.
How do I understand humility? Am I comfortable taking “a lower seat” at the banquet or do I seek out the seats of honor? How does accepting God’s deep and passionate love for me humble me?