Father Valan Arockiaswamy

Father Valan

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Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Twenty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Aug 28, 2022 Views 209 Listen 2 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Book of Sirach (3:17-18, 20, 28-29)

My child, conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11)

(R) God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.

The just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice. Sing to God, chant praise to his name; whose name is the Lord. (R)

The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity. (R)

A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews (12:18-19, 22-24a)

Brothers and sisters: You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (14:1, 7-14)

On a Sabbath Jesus 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." Then he said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 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. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


A man was talking to his lawyer about a divorce. "What are your reasons for the divorce?" the lawyer asked. "It is my wife's manners. She has such bad table manners that she is disgracing the whole family", said the man. "That's bad. How long have you been married?" the lawyer asked. "Ten years," the man said. "If you have been able to put up with her table manners for ten years, I can't understand why you want a divorce now," the lawyer said. "Well," said the man, "I did not know it before. I just bought a book on etiquette this morning."

Today's gospel, Luke (14:1, 7-14), is a simple story with a profound message. One day a leading Pharisee had invited Jesus to a meal. People were observing Jesus closely to see if He would break the law of the Sabbath and heal a man suffering from dropsy who was seated right in front of Jesus. Jesus was known to heal people, even on the Sabbath. So He healed the man and sent him away. Meanwhile, Jesus had observed how some of the guests had chosen places of honor for themselves. So he responded with a parable to teach them how to behave at feasts. His advice is simple and clear. He told the guests that at a wedding feast or at any important event, they should not take the seats of honor on their own initiative.

This is just in case the host had invited someone more important than them and might ask them to give up their place and move to the least honorable seat. Such situations can lead to embarrassment and shame. On the contrary, if they would take the least seat, the reverse might take place. The host might ask them to take a better seat, and in doing so, rather than being shamed, they would be honored in the presence of all the guests.

The guests at the banquet were probably annoyed and embarrassed by Jesus' comments and advice. But Jesus had to tell them because they were the people who needed to be saved. Jesus was not trying to teach them table manners or dining etiquette or public behavior. Rather He used the occasion to tell them and all his followers about a spiritual truth namely about preparation for the feast to be held in the kingdom of God at the end of time or at the end of our life on earth.

God is the host of the banquet, and the invitation is open to all people. However, the invitation to attend the feast in the kingdom of God must be accepted and responded with humility and not with pride and arrogance, for God Himself will make the final seating arrangements. God alone decides who will be seated at the most honorable place and who at the least honorable seat. That is to say, "the Lord will humble the one who exalts himself, but will raise up the one who humbles himself", (Luke 14:11). Jesus is an example of the exaltation that God will grant to every humble believer. Jesus is fully God, yet he humbled Himself by dying on the cross, and therefore God highly exalted Him, Philippians (2:8-10).

Jesus also spoke to the Pharisee who was hosting the banquet in his home. He recommended that the next time he held a party, he should not just invite his family, friends and rich neighbors and those who can reciprocate but invite also those who cannot return the favor, such as, the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and then he will receive the reward of eternal life.

In today's gospel, Jesus teaches us two things:

  • Jesus teaches us that we should not overestimate our own importance and put ourselves to public shame and embarrassment. Instead we must humble ourselves before God and others in order to obtain the grace of God and the reward of eternal life.
  • Jesus teaches us that we should not honor only those who are distinguished but also ordinary people, and be compassionate and kind and generous to the poor or help those who are unable to return the favor for the works of charity are better than works of pride.
(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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