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Losers, Keepers

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"For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:11)

For students of scripture, this is a familiar refrain. Luke makes it tangible in this Sunday's Gospel reading, in his parable of the wedding banquet: Far better it is for you, he cautions, to take the lowest place at the table and then be invited to be seated closer to the host, than to assume a lofty position without invitation and find yourself re-seated in a lowly spot.

But this proverb (indeed, Luke takes his cue from Proverbs 25:6-7, which concludes "for it is better to be told, 'Come up here,' than to be put lower in the presence of a noble") holds true in all walks of life. But because we demand immediate satisfaction in our busy lives, we may not be witnesses much of the time to the way that God's justice is served. At some point, though, it always comes to pass that the proud are humbled.

When we do observe this, we must beware of …