22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 27/8/2016 - Gospel: Lk 14:1,7-14
Public places
When we go to a public gathering for a celebration we are supposed to enjoy a life free of responsibility, unless we are a member of the organizing team, otherwise we become an anonymous person. If we do run into a friend or someone whom we know it is only an informal greeting and then we quickly are in the moods of the celebration with the crowds. Unlike a public gathering, at a family party each participant has some role to play.  In order to enjoy the celebration and avoid being a nuisance for the host family, every participant needs to observe the rules of the house. Every guest at the family party is well known to the host and is invited for a specific purpose. We are invited to share the joy and the happiness on the happy occasion of the host or we are distinguished guests. We may not know all others guests but we are somebody known to the host. Because of the personal relationship with the host we are not anonymous guests but are parts of the celebration. 

Jesus and his disciples were invited to dine at a leading Pharisee's house and on the Sabbath. Some guests were watching Jesus closely; others were fighting about the place of honour. Tension arose amongst them. Allocating a place for a guest to seat at the party was the job of the host. Guests who allocated a seat for their own reversed the role, taking the place of the host. Tension was escalating and chaos was happening. Jesus told them that expecting the place of honour in public only happened for those who were thinking that they were important. They gave themselves the right to be recognized in public. They had power and lacked no food or clothing. What they now wanted was not necessity things for the living but extraordinary luxury and recognition in public places. The poor, the crippled, the lame and the marginalized were their victims. Public places were their quarters. They come to the party to celebrate, to enjoy the company of friends and to have a good time, not honour and prestige and status. They know that they have done nothing to be invited and are grateful that they are invited. They are happy to enjoy whatever the host has to offer. They celebrate with a thankful heart. In short they come to celebrate, to enjoy the generosity of the host. They were not looking for status or being celebrated and recognized.

The attitude of the poor, the crippled, the lame and the marginalized at the wedding party Jesus praised about is also the same attitude Jesus expects in the heavenly banquet. Jesus is the host of the heavenly banquet and we are guests invited. In the heavenly banquet there is no room for the arrogant and the proud.

Humility is the key to happiness and inner peace. Humility helps us to understand that it is not we who deserve the invitation but entirely depend on God's generosity and mercy.  What we bring to celebrate the heavenly wedding? A humble and genuine heart is the most appropriate gift.