How to be exalted

A Mayor invited all the people in the town to a banquet. Among those who showed up was a man of deep distinction by the name of Daniel. Daniel was a great scholar and a wise man and yet he was very humble and did not like being honoured. When he arrived, the Mayor invited him to sit at the top table. Daniel thanked him but said he would prefer amongst the poor on the table nearest the door and that he did. When the other distinguished guests arrived, the Mayor told them they could sit wherever they liked. Naturally they all chose to sit at the top table. The banquet hall was filled up and the only place left was a place at the bottom table. At the last minute another distinguished guest arrived, and the Mayor had no choice but to show him to his place at the bottom table. “But this is the bottom table,” the man protested. “No, this is the top table,” the Mayor replied. “I don’t understand,” the man said. “Wherever Daniel sits is the top table,” the Mayor replied. The moral of the story is it is not the place that honours the guest but the guest that honours the place.

Today’s Gospel tells how Jesus was invited to a meal at the house of one of the leading Pharisees and how he told the guests there a parable because he had noticed that they had picked the places of honour. The point of the parable is if you are humble then you will be honoured.

This Gospel reading invites us to reflect on how we think and act in relation to others? When we are in the company of others, do we put ourselves forward or do we stay in the background unless we are called forward?

Jesus is the model of humility. He was born in a manger in a beaten down occupied nation with no place to lay his head. He was spat upon, cursed, humiliated before finally being put to death on a cross. Although Son of God he came to serve, not to be served. We are called to follow Jesus who made himself of no reputation. We don’t know exactly where Jesus sat during that meal in the Gospel we will listen to this Sunday but wherever it was it was the place of honour.