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Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus seemed to have really enjoyed having meals with people. “Companion” literally means “bread fellow”, someone with whom you share bread. It implies an intimacy. Our Lord would use that image to bring himself to us in the Eucharist.

The gospel writers tell several stories about Jesus dining with Pharisees. In Luke 7:44-47, it was clear that he had not received the customary welcome, from the contrast he made between the attitude of His host Simon and the penitent sinner who anointed him. On the occasion depicted in today’s reading, it is not clear why the Pharisee had invited him. Was it only because he was a celebrity and the man wanted to be seen with him? From the behaviour of the guests this would seem likely.

The seats at a table were  physically all the same. What made them different was proximity to the host and the honour that sitting near him conferred. Nowadays the “top table” plays the same role. In the scramble for the best seats, there would have been very little room for “companionship”.

The word “humility” comes from the Latin “humilitas,” meaning humble or - literally - from the earth. It conveys a sense of a person being grounded, aware both of their own worth and that of others. The poor and the sick would  have come with nothing to give but themselves, which is what sharing a meal is all about. The word “banquet” is often used in connection with heaven. It is a way of describing God’s loving relationship with his friends in their eternal home.

“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:9)