Jesus is the poorest of the poor on whom God looks with favor due to the simplicity, lowliness and awe of him that they show.
Does it bother Jesus that his fellow guests, leading Pharisees, and maybe the host, too, watch him closely? If he shows that it does, it may be due to his wish to avail of the moment to teach lowliness and other things.
But be it as it may, he knows himself, for sure. He knows who and what he is; he sees he is true, solid. Which means he knows, too, that suspicion or criticism does not make him less than what he is. Nor do praises and nice words make him greater. This goes to show that he is calm and self-possessed. For he has nothing to lose or gain. No “income, promotions or things that make him feel secure,” to borrow a phrase from Jaime Corera (RIP). That is to say, Jesus is free. And nothing disturbs him, nothing frightens him.
And that is why, too, that he corrects those he eats with. He tells them it will turn out better for them to choose the lowest place. The example he uses proves that it pays to be lowly, even just to avoid being put to shame.
Such lowliness is, of course, selfish. But there is a lowliness that is selfess. And Jesus wants us to have it so we may be like our Father in heaven. It is the lowliness that we cannot but see in Jesus.
Lowliness no one has seen
Though he is God, Christ makes no boast of it. Rather, he becomes man to serve. And he is lowliest as he dies on the cross.
And such lowliness shows the lowliness of God. He reigns from on high, yet stoops down to reach out to the poor. He lifts us up wretched folks, takes us out of the outskirts, and gives us a place in his kingdom. His sovereignty over all makes him forgive all, judge with mercy, and rule with patience. He thus teaches us that to be just means to be kind, and he gives hope to us sinners.
Hence, the living God, to whose mountain we go near, is not the god we make in our likeness. This god, overbearing and beyond reach, is like us who are high-handed. Who thirst for power and wealth.
Needless to say, we are to be good, lowly, simple, truthful, solid and free as God is. And that is why our guests should be the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, those who cannot pay us back. But we will be paid back when God is all in all. When we get to see that the virtues of God that we strive to make our own are their own reward.
By the same token, if we are overbearing, beyond reach, find fault in others, harsh, showy and greedy as our idols, will these vices not be our punishment?
Lord Jesus, grant us your creative love due to which you give us, in lowliness, your body as food and your blood as drink (SV.EN XI:131).
28 August 2022
22nd Sunday in O.T. (C)
Sir 3, 17-18. 20. 28-29; Heb 12, 18-19. 22-24a; Lk 14, 1. 7-14