Translation From the Holy Gospel According to Luke
At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had the dropsy: and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and the Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? But they held their peace: but He taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer Him these things.
And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee comes, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee: because every one that exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbled himself shall be exalted.
A Message From St. John Chrysostom‘s Homilies on First Corinthians: I
But how shall a man find grace with God? How else, except by lowliness of mind? For God, saith one, . resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (Jam 4:6); and, the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit, and a heart that is brought low God will not despise (Psa 51:17). For if with men humility is so lovely, much more with God. Thus both they of the Gentiles found grace and the Jews no other way fell from grace; for they were not subject unto the righteousness of God (Rom 10:13) ” The lowly man of whom I am speaking, is pleasing and delightful to all men, and dwells in continual peace, and hath in him no ground for contentions. For though you insult him, though you abuse him, whatsoever you say, he will be silent and will bear it meekly, and will have so great peace towards all men as one cannot even describe. Yea, and with God also. For the commandments of God are to be at peace with men: and thus our whole life is made prosperous, through peace one with another. For no man can injure God: His nature is imperishable, and above all suffering. Nothing makes the Christian so admirable as lowliness of mind. Hear; for instance, Abraham saying, But I am but dust and ashes (Gen 18:27); and again, God [saying] of Moses, that he was the meekest of all men (Num 12:3). For nothing was ever more humble than he; who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egyptians, as if they had been flies; and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person, and as a son-in-law was humbler than his father-in-law, and took advice from him (cf. Exo 18:24), and was not indignant, nor did he say, “What is this? After such and so great achievements, art thou come to us with thy counsel?” This is what most people feel; though a man bring the best advice, despising it, because of the lowliness of the person. But not so did he: rather through lowliness of mind he wrought all things well. Hence also he despised the courts of kings, (cf. Heb 11:24-26) since he was lowly indeed: for the sound mind and the high spirit are the fruit of humility. For of how great nobleness and magnanimity, thinkest thou, was it a token, to despise the kingly palace and table? Since kings among the Egyptians are honored as gods, and enjoy wealth and treasures inexhaustible. But nevertheless, letting go all these and throwing away the very sceptres of Egypt, he hastened to join himself unto captives, and men worn down with toil, whose strength was spent in the clay and the making of bricks, men whom his own slaves abhorred, (for, saith he The Egyptians abhorred them (Exo 1:2);) unto these he ran and preferred them before their masters. From whence it is plain, that whoso is lowly, the same is high and great of soul. For pride cometh from an ordinary mind and an ignoble spirit, but moderation, from greatness of mind and a lofty soul.
And if you please, let us try each by examples. For tell me, what was there ever more exalted than Abraham? And yet it was he that said, I am but dust and ashes (Gen 18:27); it was he who said, Let there be no strife between me and thee (Gen 13:8). But this man, so humble, despised (“Persian,” i.e. perhaps, “of Elam.”) Persian spoils, and regarded not Barbaric trophies (cf. Gen 14:21-24,); and this he did of much highmindedness, and of a spirit nobly nurtured. For he is indeed exalted who is truly humble; (not the flatterer nor the dissembler;) for true greatness is one thing, and arrogance another. And this is plain from hence; if one man esteem clay to be clay, and despise it, and another admire the clay as gold, and account it a great thing; which, I ask, is the man of exalted mind? Is it not he who refuses to admire the clay? And which, abject and mean? Is it not he who admires it, and set much store by it? Just so do thou esteem of this case also; that he who calls himself but dust and ashes is exalted, although he say it out of humility; but that he who does not consider himself dust and ashes, but treats himself lovingly and has high thoughts, this man for his part must be counted mean, esteeming little things to be great. Whence it is clear that out of great loftiness of thought the patriarch spoke that saying, I am but dust and ashes; from loftiness of thought, not from arrogance.
For as in bodies it is one thing to be healthy and plump, (firm and elastic) and another thing to be swollen, although both indicate a full habit of flesh, (but in this case of unsound, in that of healthful flesh;) so also here: it is one thing to be arrogant, which is, as it were, to be swollen, and another thing to be high-souled, which is to be in a healthy state. And again, one man is tall from the stature of his person; another, being short, by adding buskins becomes taller; now tell me, which of the two should we call tall and large? Is it not quite plain, him whose height is from himself? For the other has it as something not his own; and stepping upon things low in themselves, turns out a tall person. Such is the case with many men who mount themselves up on wealth and glory; which is not exaltation, for he is exalted who wants none of these things, but despises them, and has his greatness from himself. Let us therefore become humble that we may become exalted; For he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11). Now the self-willed man is not such as this; rather he is of all characters the most ordinary. For the bubble, too, is inflated, but the inflation is not sound; wherefore we call these persons “puffed up.” Whereas the sober-minded man has no high thoughts, not even in high fortunes, knowing his own low estate; but the vulgar even in his trifling concerns indulges a proud fancy.
Let us then acquire that height which comes by humility. Let us look into the nature of human things, that we may kindle with the longing desire of the things to come; for in no other way is it possible to become humble, except by the love of what is divine and the contempt of what is present. For just as a man on the point of obtaining a kingdom, if instead of that purple robe one offer him some trivial compliment, will count it to be nothing; so shall we also laugh to scorn all things present, if we desire that other sort of honor. Do ye not see the children, when in their play they make a band of soldiers, and heralds precede them and lictors, and a boy marches in the midst in the general’s place, how childish it all is? Just such are all human affairs; yea and more worthless than these: today they are, and tomorrow they are not. Let us therefore be above these things; and let us not only not desire them, but even be ashamed if anyone hold them forth to us. For thus, casting out the love of these things, we shall possess that other love which is divine, and shall enjoy immortal glory. Which may God grant us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with whom be to the Father, together with the holy and good Spirit, the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.