Today’s Gospel prompts us to have humble and generous hearts. Jesus uses the simple metaphor of a wedding party to demonstrate the importance of the virtue of humility in the Christian life. The parable of the tables teaches us to occupy the lowest seats at the banquets we frequent in our own lives ‘for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

As Christians we should be generous. We each have been given many gifts and talents; we should use them all to help others because God has given them to us for that purpose. Being humble enables us to come before God just as we are, recognising our weaknesses and limitations and our need for his loving presence in our lives. Acting humbly doesn’t mean that we have to live that differently. Humility is about serving others and allowing ourselves to be served, and living with an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes in our lives it can be easy to take things for granted and it is only by detaching ourselves from our earthly concerns that we realise our greater dependence on our Creator. His presence gives purpose and meaning to our lives and helps us both in our everyday decisions and life choices.

When we serve each other in humility and love we are doing the will of God and helping build his kingdom on earth. The message of the Gospel challenges us to give without the expectation of a reward and serve those who we may consider to be beneath us for God loves a cheerful giver. It is often by stepping out of our comfort zone and giving to those who are less privileged than us that we truly encounter the Lord, and when we welcome others as Jesus did in this way we can be assured of the welcome of God the Father in the heavenly kingdom.

“It is not we who build the Kingdom of God but always the Lord’s grace which acts within us; a humility that spurs us to put our whole self not into serving ourselves or our own ideas, but into the service of Christ and of the Church, as clay vessels, fragile, inadequate and insufficient, yet which contain an immense treasure that we bear and communicate”.

(Pope Francis, 31 July 2013)