Monday, November 22, 2010

The Last Seat, The Back Pew

The Last Seat, The Back Pew

Those who get to take the best seats in any celebration or gathering are the popular and wealthy people.  Sometimes, we think that we deserve the first seats and the front seats.  Perhaps, we take the best parts of the fish and meat, too.  Or from a basket of fruits, we grab to take the juiciest of all, forgetting that something must be shared. 

Last Seat (Luke 14)

When you are invited to a wedding feast, do not recline in the first seats, otherwise when perhaps one more distinguished have been invited by the host, and the host who invited you and him come and say to you,  “Make room for this man!” you should find yourself in a most embarrassing situation to take the last seat.  Thus when you are invited, go and recline in the last seat so that when the host who invited you comes, and he says to you, “Friend, come join me in the reserved seats!”  Then will you be honored in the presence of all who are at the table with you.  For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.

Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18)

Two men went up the temple to pray, one was a Pharisee and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and began to pray to himself, saying’ “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men who are robbers, dishonest, adulterers, or even like the publican.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I possess.”  But the publican, standing far off , felt so ashamed of himself he could hardly lift up his eyes to heaven , but kept striking his breast, saying, “O God have mercy on me the sinner!”

“I tell you the publican went back home justified rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles shall be exalted.”

One of the hardest lessons in life is humility.  Everyone is all too proud to boast of his accomplishments or status.  With this, the self always desires for recognition and gain. The Pharisees who deem themselves so righteous are like the believers who condemn people.  They think of others as unworthy and undeserving.  They forget that God made all to be His children.

The parables show that God favors the humble tax collector admitting his sinfulness and trying to amend his life.  Do you remember when Jesus said in another story, “Those without sin cast the first stone?”

May God give us the virtue of humility.

Rose Flores Martinez

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