Friday, August 27, 2010

Ur Sunday Dose: More than Manners...

August 22, 2010
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lk 14,1.7-14


I remember a certain event when I was a kid. After our periodical exams at school, I proceeded to this certain reception of a relative's wedding. It is held somewhere near our school. Since I gone the first among them all (noting that the wedding isn't over yet), I held the place in the presidential table, next to the chair reserved for the newly-weds. I felt comfy all over, since I know that I would never be moved to another chair with the crowd.

That was until a waiter came to me and said, "Bata, baba ka dyan. May mga uupo dyan." To my dismay, I proceeded to a vacant chair in a table not so far from the presidential one. In replacement, my mom sat on my chair when the visitors came. When mommy came to know of the event, she can't help but laugh. She told me that the seat which I took was really reserved for the godparents of the newly-wed couple.

Of course, I can't understand at that, my age being 11 or 12. It was until I am writing of this reflection when this event came back to my memory; it was only now that I came to understand fully what it means to sit somewhere you are not supposed to sit on.

The Gospel for the Lord's Day focuses on literal table manners. At one certain point, Jesus is telling us that even then, table manners are followed. "Table Etiquette" is already a part of the system. He shows us in particular, two certain rules to do whenever you are invited: "Never sit in the place of honor; rather, sit in the most humble place," and "Do not invite those important to you; rather, invite the poor, the lame, and those who cannot repay you in any way."

Of course, these two things are important whenever you are in any wedding banquet or in any buffet get-together. It is important that we show prim and proper ways. Considering that this is a chance to mingle with people we do not know, nevertheless we take this opportunity to show our hospitality and manners.

Ok, enough of the literal side. Let's get deeper.

When we do something, we usually boast it to others. We tell others that we did this, we contributed that, and more. In that, people recognize us, and we become happy. We receive the reward of our good deed.

Jesus - the Humble servant - challenges us not to be like that. A real Christian does not boast at all; rather, he does things in the spirit of service, humility and love. He does not expect some praise from the people. Remember that the more we work good in silence, the more blessings we could expect to receive. For, as Jesus said in the Gospel: "every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Also, when we do good to those we know, we usually hear the words, Paano kaya kita magagantihan sa ginawa mong kabutihan sa akin? By that, we are given our reward for the good deed we do.

Knowing this, Jesus also challenges us to be good, not only to those who are close to us, but as well, to those we do not know, and the most forgotten in the mob. He is specific with this: the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Since we know that they would never be able to repay us materially, and that they could only utter these words, Salamat po. They could likewise offer only but prayers. Jesus tells as well in the Gospel, "Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

You see, the manners we usually do at the table does not end at the table. It continues right up to every second and moment of our lives. Remember that good manners apply to everyone and every time and place.


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