Proper 17 – Year C

Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; (or Sirach 10:12-18; or Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112); Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14

“Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.” – Nicholai Velimirovic

                What is it like to sit below the salt?  That’s an old English expression meaning to be placed below one’s status, even lower than the salt cellar.  In today’s parable Jesus tells us not to be positioning ourselves at the head table, sitting in the place of honor (Luke 14:8).  Go sit below the salt.  In spite of the intended meaning of that expression, it is never below our status.  Before God all people are equal.  In the banquet of life all people are extremely important, all are children of God, all are the image of God.  What a privilege to dine with the help in the kitchen.  In his parable Jesus is lashing out at the arrogant who presume that they are more important than others, posturing themselves.  Jesus says those who exalt themselves will be humbled (Luke 14:11).  Those who place themselves high with a belittling eye cast down on the despised rest of humanity will be cast down themselves.  The false façade can’t last forever.  On the other hand, the good thing about humility is that it is not self deprecation.  It is truth.  It is wisdom.  When we are humble we know of what stuff we are made.  The arrogant are ignorant, not knowing who they are, seating themselves at the wrong table.   Jesus went to the house of the Pharisee to dine (see Greek below).  Let us also go to break bread with the elite of God found both above and below the salt, humble enough to be at home with anyone.  In God’s eyes we are all the cream of the crop.

Greek

                Luke 14:1 says that Jesus went to share a meal or to dine.  The Greek literally says “to eat bread.”  It was a euphemism for sharing a meal.  Obviously they ate more than just bread.  We also have the expression “break bread together.”  It shows the importance of bread as a staple in all ages.  No wonder Jesus used bread as the sacrament of his presence.

Haiku

Dine unassuming,

confident as stuff of stars,

seated humble high.

 

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