Luke 14

A Dinner Given by a Pharisee[a]

Chapter 14

Jesus Heals a Man with Dropsy on the Sabbath.[b] 1 On one Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the home of a prominent Pharisee, and the people were watching him closely. 2 In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy, 3 and Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 When they offered no reply, he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. 5 Then he said to them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” 6 And they were unable to give him any answer.

The Parable of the Ambitious Guest.[c] 7 When he noticed how the guests were securing places of honor, he told them a parable: 8 “When you have been invited by someone to attend a wedding banquet, do not sit down in the place of honor in case someone who is more distinguished than you may have been invited, 9 and then the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then you will be embarrassed as you proceed to sit in the lowest place.

10 “Rather, when you are invited, proceed to sit in the lowest place, so that when your host arrives, he will say to you, ‘My friend, move up to a higher place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Invite the Needy.[d] Then he said to the one who had invited him, “When you host a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest they invite you back and thus repay you. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then indeed will you be blessed because they have no way to repay you. But you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

15 The Parable of the Great Supper.[e] On hearing this, one of the dinner guests said to him, “Blessed is the man who will dine in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus said in reply, “A man gave a sumptuous banquet, to which he invited many. 17 When the hour for the banquet drew near, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited: ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But one after another they all began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have bought a parcel of land, and I must go out to inspect it. Please accept my apologies.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen, and I am on my way to try them out. Please accept my regrets.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, and therefore I am unable to come.’

21 “When the servant returned, he reported all this to his master. Then the owner of the house became enraged, and he said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 Shortly afterward, the servant told him, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, and some room is still available.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the open roads and along the hedgerows and compel people to come,[f] so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”

Conditions To Be a Disciple[g]

25 Renunciation of Everything for Jesus.[h] Great crowds were accompanying Jesus on his journey, and he turned to them and said, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother,[i] wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 [j]“Which one of you, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has sufficient funds for its completion? 29 Otherwise, if he has laid the foundation and then finds himself unable to finish the work, all who see it will ridicule him, saying, 30 ‘There goes the man who started to build but was unable to complete the work.’

31 “Or what king marching into battle against another king will not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand soldiers he can defeat the enemy coming to oppose him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the enemy is still a long distance away, he will send a delegation to ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any one of you who does not renounce all of his possessions cannot be my disciple.

34 The Simile of Salt.[k]“Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, what can be done to make it salty once again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the dungheap. Thus, it can only be thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Footnotes

  1. Luke 14:1 Luke is an artful composer of Gospel scenes. Here he brings together different themes in the unfolding of a repast. The Jews thought of the kingdom of God as a gathering of people at a banquet in heaven. And, for Luke, this repast doubtless has the value of an announcement and a symbol. Jesus has the honor of being invited on the Sabbath to dine with a group of Pharisees, the representatives of Jewish thought. His hosts follow solid principles of thought and congratulate themselves on their good education. They closely watch Jesus’ behavior out of curiosity mingled with apprehension. And one might say that Jesus goes out of his way to shock them.
  2. Luke 14:1 Jesus does not lose himself in compliments and conversation but posits an act, a sign of the salvation that he brings to human beings. This is a new miracle, again performed on a Sabbath. Religion is for the liberation of persons, not their enslavement. To keep the Sabbath is to bear witness to it (see Lk 6:6-11; 13:10-17). See note on Mt 12:9-14.
  3. Luke 14:7 These reflections on the choice of places at a banquet could be nothing more than simple counsels of worldly wisdom. But Jesus wishes to stress that humility holds first place in the values of the kingdom, contrary to the values of the world (see Lk 1:51-52; 18:14).
  4. Luke 14:12 A repast should not be a worldly affair. Luke calls for humility (see Lk 1:53; 6:20; 7:22) and disinterest.
  5. Luke 14:15 The kingdom of God is portrayed as a banquet in which God gathers together the Elect. People can refuse the call, but one day the gathering of joy will take place—this is one of Jesus’ principal certitudes. The parable goes farther; the officials, the habitués of religion, cheat themselves. Their affairs come before the joy of the kingdom, which opens itself to those who are regarded as ordinary and are often excluded: the marginalized of society or of religion. This proposal is shocking for official Judaism. And it should also be for any society that is closed in upon itself, and especially if it calls itself the Church of Jesus. See note on Mt 22:1-14.
  6. Luke 14:23 Compel people to come: they must be emphatic on the need to enter, but the Gospel excludes any coercion.
  7. Luke 14:25 This section is tantamount to a short catechism on discipleship. The phrase “cannot be my disciple” runs through it like a refrain (vv. 26, 27, 33).
  8. Luke 14:25 This passage indicates that one must renounce everything to follow Jesus, even the most legitimate values and attachments, for the Gospel relegates all other considerations to a secondary level. That is the point of the word “hate” in the Old Testament (see Lk 16:13; Gen 29:31, 33; Deut 21:15-16; Isa 60:15). This renunciation is not some passing fancy but a radical demand: the two parables of the builder and the warrior could have been nothing more than simple invitations to reflect before deciding anything; Luke turns them into a call to make a serious commitment.
  9. Luke 14:26 Hate his father and mother: Jesus does not intend to abolish the fourth commandment about honoring and taking care of one’s parents. He simply sets forth the supreme conditions to be his disciple. In order to follow him, one must be disposed to sacrifice the most tender affections and even to renounce one’s life (see Jn 12:25). The expression is softened and explained in Mt 10:37.
  10. Luke 14:28 Whoever wishes to follow Jesus must weigh his own strengths so as not to launch out into a spiritual adventure thoughtlessly and rashly. Jesus illustrates this thought with two comparisons.
  11. Luke 14:34 If the energy and conviction of disciples who have made a commitment begin to weaken, they become like salt that has lost its taste or its value.

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