Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
To be protagonists in the service
On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 14,1.7-11
There is a contagious disease in the humanity which is called “protagonism”. Each one, on the great stage of the life, dreams to play an important role: the people who willingly accept to act as a dummy are few. The society itself maintains this spirit of self-achievement, by dividing the people between winners and losers: every context and all the circumstances are opportunities of competing to see who is the more emerging one. Then there are those who, because being aware of not being able to be the protagonists, are at the service of those who are as such and, living by light reflection, they find a way to stand out from the crowd of the people. The stage of the politics is very rich of these characters. The women, furthermore, are pretty good in this race, each of them struggling with their own weapons: the beauty, the elegance, their husband’s role in the society and, in the recent decades, their professional achievement. This is the subtle contention which Jesus points out today, seeing the guests while filling the top places. He then tells the story of the guests at a wedding and concludes: “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted”. We wonder whether there is a way to be protagonists, practicable for everyone and welcomed by the Lord, irrespective of the received natural gifts, of the social class, of the role and of the results achieved in the life. There is! It was taught by Jesus and by the many people of faith who humbly strive every day for the sake of their families and of the neighbor: it is the service. The sharing of the meals is one of the best forms of acceptance which creates deep union, difficult to be otherwise reached. For this reason, we, who experience it every sunday with our sons and friends, continue to propose it as a privileged moment and blessed by the Lord, like the family prayer in the morning. These are the two most effective weapons to overcome the dividing tendencies of the family.