Look at who thinks they’re nothing


Even if you didn’t pay close attention to this Sunday’s readings, it’s pretty obvious that the core message is about humility…the way of Christian life. The opposite of humility is pride, and in the Gospel reading, Jesus can’t help but see the various outward acts of pride being displayed by the dinner guests and host. The guests are jockeying for the favored seating positions and the host seemingly is offering the meal only to show off his wealth to gain the favor and esteem of others, all acts of pride, the mother of all the deadly sins.

Pride is described as the gateway to all other sins.​ Pride is the inordinate love of self — excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the recognition of God’s grace working within their lives. Pride fools a person into thinking that they’re the source of their own greatness.​ Liking yourself isn’t a sin but pride can create a false self-perception which can make you think that you’re more important than you really are.​ The famous Christian author, C.S. Lewis, wrote:​

“There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.​”

Jesus knew that pride leads to every other vice. It was through pride that Satan fell from heaven.​ How do you feel when you’re snubbed, or unnoticed, or patronized, or shown up by someone else? If you’re proud, then you get very upset when someone else “wins.”​ Pride makes you God’s enemy. As long as you’re proud, you cannot know God. A proud person is always looking down on things and people, and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you’re not looking up to recognize God’s presence and his gifts, which are the source of our talents and treasure.

Knowing the damaging nature of pride, Jesus teaches us that the best way to counter pride is with humility. He tells the guests to take the lowest seating position and he advises the host to invite people who he can’t benefit from; people who are unable to return his favor or assist with his upward mobility in society. C.S. Lewis had a catchy phrase for humility; “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but, thinking of yourself less.” In this light, true humility means to recognize God as the source of all our successes and accomplishments. To recognize and give credit to God when someone gives you a compliment.

True humility, then, is not to deny the reality that we did something well, but to know and recognize that without God we can do nothing good. There is no job too small that cannot be done well if we remember that all goodness and greatness doesn’t come from within but comes from without…from God.


Deacon Bob