Daily Reflections

Luke 14:1, 7-11

In the Gospels there are seven miracles which the Evangelists recorded as having occurred on the Sabbath. Five of them are in St Luke’s Gospel (4:31-35, 38-39; 6:6-11; 13:10-17; 14:1-6); the other two are in St John’s Gospel (5:1-10; 9:1-14). Today’s Sabbath encounter involves the Lord visiting the home of a prominent Pharisee.

Luke records that the Lord was under observation, being carefully watched for any infringement or flouting of either the rabbinic or Mosaic law. It can be hard to see things from other people’s point of view but we should perhaps try and understand the Pharisees a little better. They were after all devout, religious men whose zeal and enthusiasm could not be doubted. Jesus once pointed out that they were so committed that they would travel over land and sea to win one single convert (Matt. 23:15). However, it is not their devotion which is in question but their attitude and, to be more precise, their interior attitude of heart.

The Holy Spirit always leads us to read and interpret the Scriptures in a way which speaks to our own hearts. There is something of the Pharisee in us all. Today’s incident, which is recorded only by Luke, highlights a streak in all our natures which is pompous and desires social recognition and status in order to feed our egos. Today’s incident leads Jesus to tell a parable about a wedding feast in which a guest who has chosen the most important seat is humiliated when asked to vacate it. The punch line of the parable is a simple one: ‘every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted’ (v. 11).

How do we apply this Scripture to our daily lives? Well, one of the things we need to guard against in our parishes is cliques. Cliques, which are rooted in exclusion and feelings of superiority, create the same sense of self-importance and status as we observe in our Gospel passage. Catholic cliques are notorious and they are a blight on our parish communities. All expressions of self-importance and division are anathema in a truly loving Christian culture or community. The clergy play an important role in helping the parish community to be open, loving and accepting to all. God humbles the proud and arrogant, and raises up the humble.

Lord, teach me to be a humble servant of Christ seeking to build up the kingdom by loving service.

Philippians 1:18-26  •  Psalm 41(42):2-5
Luke 14:1, 7-11

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