On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 14:1, 7-11
Seeds that descend into the humus
Ascend again a flow’ring chorus.
The word humility comes from humus, which is Latin for “earth.” The couplet uses the English pronunciation of humus (hyo͞o′məs), defined as “a brown or black organic substance consisting of partially or wholly decayed vegetable or animal matter that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.”
“The ground of humility is man’s estimation of himself according to truth,” writes Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper in his classic, The Four Cardinal Virtues (189).
Truth is the knowledge of what is—that one is born into this world and not self-existent, but endowed with the capacity for God. We are children of the heavenly Father with an eternal destiny. Life is a pure gift.
What have you that you have not received?1 Corinthians 4:7 (RSV)
All other goods are derived from the fundamental good, which is life. Thus honor can only be conferred by another and never presumed.
…to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.Matthew 20:23
As in all of Jesus’ parables and teachings, the roadmap to happiness and beatitude is spelled out. Humility (truth before God) is foundational.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;Proverbs 1:7
fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Saints, like seeds, descend and ascend like a “flow’ring chorus,” and join the choirs of angels praising God.