Homily of Rev. Paul D. Panaretos, S.J.
We Have Our Model
As Jesus moved toward Jerusalem and his death and resurrection, Luke’s gospel recalls that numerous people encountered Jesus along his way. Jesus formed them, shaped them according to his mission. His words in today’s, compact gospel scene are less about remuneration and more about prestige: do not invite your friends...[kin]...or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. The Pharisees liked money--who doesn’t?--but they were more enamored with prestige, their standing in the eyes of others.
Such self-concern infects with an all-absorbing anxiety; and all-absorbing anxiety prevents peace of mind. Peace of mind, which flows from the peace of God, St. Paul encourages in his letter to his beloved Philippians. In practice, Christians welcome God’s peace into their lives by allowing the communion with Jesus and one another to shape their living.
We heard St. Paul state this principle of Christian living in a few, short lines. Our tendencies to desire prestige-- whatever sort--tempt us to hear each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others as an add-on when its convenient. We know St. Paul meant to consider others’ interests even more than our own because we are to humbly regard others as more important than ourselves.
Jesus is the model, and Jesus did nothing out of convenience. Did it tax Jesus? Absolutely--to death. But God’s peace, which none of us can understand, abided with him, and more, raised him from death to live absolutely anew. Jesus models our destiny, too, as well as how to live our Christian communion and fellowship today.