Gospel: Lk 14:1, 7-11
One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and he was carefully watched.
Jesus then told a parable to the guests, for he had noticed how they tried to take the places of honor. And he said, “When you are invited to a wedding party, do not choose the best seat. It may happen that someone more important than you has been invited; and your host, who invited both of you, will come and say to you, ‘Please give this person your place.’ What shame is yours when you take the lowest seat!
Whenever you are invited, go rather to the lowest seat, so that your host may come and say to you, ‘Friend, you must come up higher.’ And this will be a great honor for you in the presence of all the other guests. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
It is difficult to have a balanced view of death. Some people seem to be in love with death, either because they are constantly defying death in daredevil stunts, or they attempt suicide at every occasion, or they talk of nothing else. In complete contrast to these death-worshippers are the people who are so terrified of death that they avoid, as the plague, any mention or reference to it. As Christians, what should be our attitude towards death?
To fear death instinctively is natural. After all, the apostle Paul calls it an enemy (1 Cor 15:26) and Jesus himself feared it (Mt 14:34). This fear is an instinct given by God to help us stay alive. But faith should help us to overcome this fear, because by faith we know that death marks the moment we will be with God in bliss forever. Paul says in today’s first reading that he desires greatly “to leave this life and to be with Christ.” And all the saints were eager to die precisely for this reason.
Let us examine our own attitude toward death. Do we see it as something eminently desirable or do we see it as the supreme catastrophe?