Thursday 19 August 2021

Saturday of Week 30 Year 1

I remember years ago when I had just been ordained a priest and I was invited to a wedding dinner. Normally, I would hesitate to go for wedding dinners, because they rarely begin on time, and follow "Malaysian Time" which could drag on for hours waiting before things get started. But since I knew the families well even from the time I was a seminarian, I agreed to attend the wedding dinner. When I arrived at the restaurant, I quickly looked for a place away from the main table, so that I could take leave unassumingly without anyone noticing, when the need arises.

However, before I could warm a seat at a table quite some distance from the main table, the father of the bride spotted me. Just my luck, he caught me in the arm and said, "Father, this is not a suitable place for you, move up to the table next to the main table." I felt humbled and a little embarrassed as the father of the bride firmly held my arm and escorted me to the proper place, and I was taken aback that my name was even printed on a label at the seat reserved for me, where I could get a good view of the proceedings.

This experience is exactly what happened in the Gospel today, where Jesus said, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

At the end of the day, I realised that what Jesus taught us in today's Gospel is very real even today. When we try to show off or tell people how great or capable we are or when we look for titles or honour, we may actually end up eating humble pie. May we learn to remain humble in all we say and do, and give God the glory.

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