Friends, our Gospel today is the famous passage from Luke’s Gospel dealing with honor at a banquet. Jesus has been invited to the home of a prominent person, one of the “leading Pharisees,” and he notices how people jockey carefully for position, status, prominence.
Who will notice me? Who can I impress? And Jesus puts his finger on the most desperate scenario for an egotist. Trying as hard as he can to be noticed, he gets noticed but for all the wrong reasons! His egotistic games backfire dreadfully, as everyone sees him reduced to embarrassment. So what’s the solution? Stop playing the game. Take the lowest place on purpose. Opt out.
Another strategy is suggested at the end of the parable. It’s also a strategy of noncooperation with evil. I’ll have a dinner for people, but only so that they can pay me back with another dinner. So opt out! Don’t play. Invite people to a party who have no capacity whatsoever to invite you in return. “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.”