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Don't Just Wink!

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted
Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29; Psalm 68:4-7,10-11; Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24; Luke 14:1,7-14

Sermon Week Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 14:11

Soon after Harry Truman became President of the United States, veteran politician Sam Rayburn took him aside to give him some advice. He said, "From here on out, Mr. President, you're going to have lots of people around you. They'll try to put a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They'll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you're not."

For too many, today's values make it difficult for us to be humble or even to understand talk about humility. They are pressured on all sides to resist this touchstone of Christian living. They are living in an age that exalts a more aggressive style of life. They buy into the supreme value of getting ahead -- of grabbing all they can. But the easy acceptance of the "way things are" in a world of "winners" and "losers" adds up to the natural rejection of the Gospel standard of humility.

In today's Gospel Lesson, Our Lord is having dinner with other guests in the home of a leading Pharisee. Here we have a beautiful picture of Jesus' full humanity. He does what we all do in such circumstances. He engages in everyday, ordinary "table-talk." He is dining with the Pharisees (men preoccupied with the rigorous details of the Mosaic Law), so it is not surprising that the conversation turns to various aspects of religious law and practice. In the verses immediately preceding today's Gospel episode, the discussion is on a favorite subject of the Pharisees: keeping the Sabbath according to the law. Jesus points out to his dinner companions that there are situations in which strict enforcement of the law must give way to higher human values. Would you not tend to the needs of a sick person on the Sabbath? Would you not rescue your son -- even an animal -- from physical harm on the Sabbath? Later, Jesus has a little talk with his host about hospitality and guest-lists for future dinners he might be giving. Would it not be a good idea if, [...]


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