From the Word of the Day
He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. (Luke 14: 7: 10)
The whole of Chapter 14 takes place around a table. This setting was much used in philosophical and wisdom writings. It is around a laden table that many various topics are discussed and the words of a teacher are listened to. Thus Luke uses the setting of a dinner to insert various topics of Jesus and here He tells them not to choose the highest places at table to avoid being embarrassed if asked to go lower. These rules were frequent in Judaism where authority and hierarchy of persons were very important. However, Jesus is not limiting Himself to lay out rules of etiquette. Using a daily event, Jesus suggests a new attitude: to seek the last place, the attitude of a free person, able to place himself at the service of others.
In this passage we also find Luke’s preoccupation for the poor. Perhaps, he was also thinking of his Christian community, inviting them not to discriminate against poor Christians when they ate together. The newness Jesus brings requires a new relationship: love that does not calculate and that removes inequality and discrimination from among us.
Holy Spirit, help me to understand this Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit because the Kingdom of God is theirs.
The voice of Cardinal Carlo Martini
Eating the Body and drinking the Blood of the Lord means letting ourselves be invaded by His life, by His way of thinking, by His awareness of His Sonship.