When I read the stories about Jesus, I notice that he went out a lot for dinner. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never mention him cooking a meal at home. He celebrates at the wedding feast in Cana with his family, making sure there is plenty of wine. He visits his good friends Martha and Mary at their home one evening. He invites himself over to Zacheaus’ house for dinner. He eats and socializes with well-known sinners and tax collectors. Jesus will share table fellowship with anyone from Pharisee to leper. Even in the final days of his life he asks his disciples to go ahead of him into town and prepare what will be their Last Supper together. I have a hunch that if Jesus of Nazareth was among us today that he would be checking out the many restaurants on Wells street with his family and friends.
Jesus also used table fellowship as a way to teach his followers. Much of Jesus’ teaching takes place in or around meals. At first glance, today’s Gospel reading might seem like a list of tips on how to act at a dinner party —and, at worst, a cynical guide on how to make ourselves look good. Just act like you should sit in the back, knowing that you will be invited to move up —and look good in front of everybody else at the party.
Jesus is really more concerned about how we see ourselves. Do we feel that we deserve the place of honor? If so, we risk the humiliation of being put in our rightful place – further back in the banquet hall.
As human beings we can easily fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others. We decide either that we are better than they are; or they are better than us. Either way, comparing ourselves to others is a mistake. Only God, who can read the human heart, can make true and wise comparisons.
This week, let us pray for the humility we need to know our place in the Kingdom of God. For then, we will truly be humble, not comparing ourselves with others or seeking places of honor, but conducting our affairs with humility.
Celebrating the Gift of Life
About once a month we celebrate a baptism for a newborn baby at one of our weekend Masses. It is a proud moment for the young parents and their family. It is a blessing that they are able to pray with us at the Table of the Lord as we welcome their son or daughter into their family and also into God’s.
Last Sunday it was a beautiful experience to baptize Rhone Thomas Hawkinson at the 9:30 Mass at Immaculate Conception church. He was such a good baby. He did not even flinch when the holy water was poured over his head. The smiles on the faces of his parents, Shaun and Bridget, were priceless. It’s great to see that young families are relying on the Catholic faith for strength and guidance as they assume the role and responsibility of parenting today.
Next Sunday, September 4th we will baptize Oliver Wasserman, son of Paula and Maurice at the 9:30 Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. It so happens that Oliver was born on Monday, August 15th which is the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Congratulations to Paula and Maurice on the gift of their first-born child.
A friend of mine sent me a funny cartoon this week (at right) about a baby’s baptism. I thought you would enjoy its humor.
You may have seen these two church signs. One says, “Bla, bla , bla… Just get in here.” The other says, “Too hot to change sign. Sin bad. God good.” Have a good week.
– Fr. Larry