“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14 (1, 7-11) begins with Jesus’ dining at the home of a leading Pharisee.  This passage of the gospel comes immediately after Jesus cures a man of dropsy after inquiring if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath.  Now Jesus admonishes the other guests as He observes them vying for places of honor at table.  He tells a parable of a man who takes the highest seat at a wedding feast but, to his embarrassment, is asked to move to the lowest spot when others come who outrank him.  The lesson, Jesus says, is to take the lowest place so that the host will ask you to move up, gaining esteem from all present.  He closes with the line at top.  Humility is key in all circumstances, because it is the first virtue introduced when God became man.  God begins as an embryo in the womb of a poor girl from nowhere, is destined to live a simple life of hard work and meager means followed by a ministry filled with many challenges and difficulties that will quickly end up in brutal torture and death.  Through it all, He “did not regard equality with God something to be grasped” (Phil 2:6).  We make ourselves like God not by grasping at divinity, making a god of ourselves, but by imitating the One who was like us in all things but sin (cf. Heb 4:15 and 2 Cor 5:21).  Take this attitude to work, to school, at the dinner table, with friends, when alone.  And in so doing, remember that we are not called to demean ourselves unjustly (a false humility that stems from pride) but rather we are to acknowledge the truth: “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” (Lk 17:10).

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