Whenever you are invited, go rather to the lowest seat, so that your host may come and say to you, ‘Friend, you must come up higher.‘ And this will be a great honor for you in the presence of all the other guests. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.“
Jesus‘ teaching in the gospel reading today immediately reminds me on the virtue of humility, referred to as the mother of all virtues. St. Augustine speaks of humility as the first, second, third, and last step towards matured spirituality. Jesus lived this humility “though He was God, He humbled Himself and took the human flesh.“
I am joyfully reminded too of the song of Mary, the Magnificat, how God acted favorably on the lowly and put to shame the proud: “He has cast down the mighty from thrones and lifted up the lowly“ (Lk. 1:52). Truly, God is pleased with the humble.
One time I was traveling by train to Switzerland from Rome. In Milan we transferred to another train. I was already seated on the right seat number but not in the right coach. The officer told me to leave and transfer to another coach. Before everyone‘s eyes, I left, shameful and humiliated. In formal and grand occasions, upon arrival, I simply sit at a hidden and back place. As always, I am escorted and paged to occupy the seat reserved for me among the VIPS. Doing such, I received applauses and admirations. These experiences bring me to understand clearly and deeply Jesus sayings and teachings on humility in contrast to pride.