Readings for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost
Luke 14:1-14; Hebrews 13:1-17; Proverbs 25:2-10
Do you remember a time when you were part of the “in” crowd? Was there a time when you weren’t? For many of us, these often painful or embarrassing memories of being “in” or “out” belong thankfully in the distant past of our days in school. In Jesus’ day, social status was something that followed you your entire life. Life was a constant and wearisome jockeying for position – no more so than at the dinner table where the most important guests got the most important seats.
Sunday’s readings should cause us to think about where and how honor is given and social status is determined in our communities today. Wise King Solomon tells us not to seek honor for ourselves, but let our King (God) bestow it on us in the way that pleases Him (Prov 25). Jesus takes this proverb a step further, commanding us to show kindness and hospitality to all, without expecting “payback” (Lk 14). The epistle includes “hospitality to the stranger” in its list of holy behaviors that mark the life of a disciple of Jesus (Heb 13).