Stop Displaying Self-Esteem On The World Stage!

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Twenty second Sunday of Ordinary Time, 01 September 2019
National Bible Sunday
Sir. 3:17-18,20,28-29; Ps. 68:4-5ac,6-7ab,10-11; Heb. 12:18-19,22-24a; Luk. 14:1,7-14

Jesus went to dine at the house of a Pharisee ruler. They thought they would find a defect to blame Him (v. 1), but it was Jesus who finally criticized their “eating together” practice. Religious leaders were taught about the basic ethic: about dining together. Jesus’ message was implied as: Before speaking of Heaven, let’s learn to be human first!

The principle of “respecting and being shameful” prevailed in the society of Jesus’ era. Honor was determined by the society recognition, not by personal achievement. Self-esteem is more important than personal achievement. Honor is public acknowledgement. Therefore, performance and display are important. Banquet is the event of honor show. Two things must be controlled: guest list and seat arrangement. The invitations: minimum the equal, who can mutually give and raise one’s level. Sitting position at the table shows one’s social status. The honored guests normally arrive later: the more VIP, the later arrive; the more honored, the more being late. Jesus offers a new alternative precisely at those two points. So, He gives advice to both the guest and the host!

First, the seat at a banquet. The guests tried to get the honored seat (v. 7) . According to Jesus, such choice is very risky. Because one’s place is easily shifted by someone more honorable, the one who comes later. To claim the position and self-esteem by ourselves is insubstantial, because it is the host who determine the place. One can begin with shame because he is asked to move to a lower level place in the presence of the guests. Therefore Jesus advised: choose the lowest place! Who knows, you will be promoted to higher place. Your self-esteem will be raised in the public. Revolutionary proposal: lower place then becomes a position to fight for and a priority. In other words, stop competing to heap honor in the eyes of human! Stop displaying self-esteem on the world stage. Why? Because the honor of following Jesus is not given by human and the world, but by Lord Himself (v. 11). Jesus offers new perspective on us, His people: a humble Church who seeks to serve, not those who are busy looking for high position.

Second, who should be invited? Jesus offers an alternative: stop inviting those who can invite you back (v. 12) . Change your guest list. Do not just invite the people who are equal, who will repay you in this world. Thus, the limitation that we make about “fellow” must be reviewed. Those we consider as “outsiders”, now must become the “insiders”. Those who are not counted, now must be counted as the invitations, as friends and partners to share in the banquet. The essence of Jesus’ message remains challenging: remove the barriers and boundaries, so the Church can embrace all people. Change the order, in order for all members of the Church become equal. There lies true happiness (v. 14): when love only means giving, without expecting the return. That is the identity of the “righteous”, who will definitely be rewarded on the Day of Resurrection (v. 14).

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Protection to the sea: May all politicians, scientists, economists be able to work together in protecting and conserving the ocean and world sea. We pray…

For Indonesian Church intention:
Joyful Herald: By constantly appreciating the Holy Bible, may all Catholics be enabled to interpret each profession as an opportunity to be a Joyful Herald to all human kinds. We pray…

Special intention:
May the people in our Diocese always give thanks to the accompaniment of the angels who are Lord’s messenger as the expression of Divine Providence so that Divine wisdom would support the Church. We pray…

Amen

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