Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
Jesus’ gaze is always an attentive gaze. One could actually read the whole Gospel from the perspective of Jesus’ gazes. They are indeed a master class for humanity.
Today’s Gospel provides an example: “He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.”
What Jesus is observing is the typical race for the best seats, which then turns into a way of life that extends into all areas of existence.
It starts from the mistaken belief that the value of our life is defined by the position we occupy. Jesus teaches another perspective: Never scramble to get to the top places because sooner or later such an attitude will make us suffer greatly. But who can choose the last place without suffering from this choice? Only those who feel loved. In fact, those who experience love aren’t looking for anything else; they’ve already found everything.
This then is why it’s important not only to denounce a wrong attitude toward life, but also to ask what its real root is. Very often careerism, the pursuit of appearances, and the need to be recognized by others are hiding a great emptiness of love.
Jesus comes among us to take this very emptiness of love seriously. He offers himself as the remedy for such a lack. It’s precisely based on this gift of his that we can make different choices. We could say it this way: Those who have met Christ are no longer concerned about the place they occupy because they know they already have an important place in His heart. Then everything else is fine, no matter what, and there’s no longer any cause for paranoia.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.