What do you make of this advice that Jesus seems to be dishing out at the meal in this Sunday’s gospel reading? In a nutshell, it seems to be:
– Don’t sit down at the head table. Sit in the worst seat and let the host invite you to a better one. The “so that” business is a little troubling and smacks a little of what we might think of as “false humility.”
– If you’re putting on a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends and relatives and rich neighbors. They might want to pay you back. Instead, invite folks who can’t pay you back. Hmm.
So, is this merely “Miss Manners” advice from Jesus? The “wedding banquet” language is a tipoff that he’s talking about something more than dining and hosting etiquette. That’s kingdom of God language, likening the coming kingdom to a heavenly banquet with God as the host.
If we’re the guests in both of these bits of advice, what might this passage tell us about the nature and intention of God?