banquet2Luke 14:1-14

St Cyril points out that Jesus uses the dinner at the Pharisees to teach them, and us, a lesson. They watched to see if he would do anything forbidden on the sabbath, and instead he teaches them  that the Law does not forbid the exercise of mercy and humility at any time. If anyone wants to win the highest place, he can do so only by the decree of Heaven, not his own will; God loves humility, not a haughty spirit. Augustine reminds us: ‘If you exalt yourself, God throws you down. If you cast yourself down, God lifts you up.’

Irenaeus points out that table fellowship with the outcasts brings a state of blessedness now, because they cannot replay, and so you behave to them as God does to you, who also can never replay Him. Those invited to God’s Eucharistic feast are those who have received Him by humility and repentance.

The Fathers are all agreed here that humility is a mark of the Kingdom of God, and see the parable as showing, again, that it is not by the Law or by our efforts that we are saved. We should behave to others as God has to us.  We are the poor, the broken and the needy, even if we do not see it; indeed, if we saw ourselves as God does, we too would be filled with compassion; when we are, we are closer to the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, the Lord reminds us that we should not puff ourselves up, for it is not thus that the kingdom is to be attained.