This reading from St. Luke is proclaimed a few days after the feast of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets, who recognized that in all things he must decrease and Jesus must increase. John’s humility earned him recognition from Our Lord who called John the greatest man ever born. Luke, in this reading, reminds us of the importance of humility and maintaining a proper perspective on who we are in relation to others. All of us are children of God, equally valued and loved by Him.
The Gospel passage also teaches us another important lesson regarding our relationship with others. Are we willing to leave our comfort zone and invite those from outside our family and circle of friends into our lives? The “poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” in the guise of the homeless, the immigrant, the unwed mother, the unemployed or underemployed parent, those suffering from various addictions. “Food” can be more than a literal meal. All deserve, without any requirement of repayment, “the meal” of our care, love and compassion as well.
After Jesus’ discourse recorded in this Gospel, whether it was weeks or months – the time doesn’t really matter - another banquet took place. This was the Last Supper. While Jesus had every right to sit in the highest place and be served, He instead took off his cloak, tied a towel around His waist and with basin in hand knelt and bathed His disciples’ feet. Are we ready and willing to imitate Him?
Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN