Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Behaving at a party
Points to note
Let’s make this simple: It is about not taking someone else’s limelight.
The more I think of it, the more it seems like a grown up problem. Remember how we would gossip about the prima donna who out-dressed the hostess? How about the one who hijacked the mass to make a show of himself? Well, we could go on. There is a lot that we as adults should be reflecting on as there are always some ulterior reasons that we can think of for why someone does this sort of things.
So, with the children, we risk imposing on them our own hang-ups over other people’s dark motives and our doubts over their sincerity. So, let’s keep this simple: it is about how we behave properly at parties and not try to seek too much attention for ourselves.
Acclamation before the Gospel
If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.
The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke
All: Glory to you O Lord
(Lk 14: 7-14)
In a Sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, ‘Give up your place to this man.’ And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, ‘My friend move up higher.’ In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to his host, ”When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relatives or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.”
This is the Word of the Lord
How many of us have attended a birthday party before? Whose? Let’s try to keep this to someone else’s birthday party.
Are there proper manners at these parties? What are they? Steer this towards being mild mannered as we are not so much talking about table manners.
Who gets the best seat at a birthday party? Who gets to blow out the candles at a birthday party? Who gets to eat the first and the best part of the cake at a birthday party? Imagine if you were to take the best seat before the birthday boy/girl gets to it? Or you were to blow out the candles before the birthday boy/girl can even draw his/her breath? Or you insist you want the best piece of the cake and not give it to the birthday boy/girl? Are these things OK to do?
Explain that it was likewise in the parable. Jesus would like us to give the places of honour to others all the time, and not just at birthday parties.
You may also wish to explore the reaction of a child if say, it is their best friend’s birthday party and the friend gives the best piece of the cake to the child because of friendship. Or the birthday boy/girl asks the best friend to help blow out the candles? How would they feel if the birthday boy/girl asks you to join in like that?
Would they do that if they were to be the birthday boy/girl? Why? Would they still do that if the best friend does not have birthday parties and will not be able to reciprocate?