In Luke 14, God calls us to not choose a place of honor at the feast but to choose the lower place and to not only invite the prosperous and prominent people, but feast with the outcasts also.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel lessons this summer have been from the Gospel of Luke which has made me very happy because Luke is my favorite Gospel. I love the way Luke tells the story of Jesus Christ, focusing on those who are on the edges, who Jesus always noticed and welcomed into the full spotlight. Luke draws pictures of Jesus as a careful watcher, noticing things that other people do not notice.
The text for Sunday is one of these places. Luke 14 – Jesus is watching and notices how the people choose the best seats for themselves when they attend a banquet or a dinner. It’s a very human thing to do. We do it all the time, do we not? We look for the very best place to sit, the place with the best view or the most comfortable place or even the honored place.
Jesus teaches out of this moment of observation and he says to us – when you attend a banquet, don’t choose the best seat for yourself, but choose the lower place, so that you might be invited up by the one who is the host of the feast. Jesus says don’t invite just your close friends; don’t invite just the people of honor; don’t invite just the prosperous and prominent people in your neighborhood to the feast, but go out into the streets and bring to the feast, those who are maimed, those who are blind, those who are poor, and those who are cast aside. Invite them to the feast and God’s heart will rejoice.
I love the stories of saints who could fly first-class, but have chosen instead to give up first-class seats and always sit in economy. Such stories are told of Pope Francis. I’m not sure they’ve been told of me in the few times when I’ve gotten bumped up from economy to a more spacious and comfortable seat.
In every place in our lives, we have an opportunity to choose the way that we will engage, the way that we will invite, the way that we will use our resources. As we choose the lower place, the voice of God says, “I am well pleased with you. Come, come up to the higher place reserved for those who understand my way and who live it.”
May this text find a place in our heart as we hear it afresh this day.