RECLINE AT TABLE
During the Biblical times, people were reclining on cushions around a low-level table for banquets. This was how Jesus used to eat at houses (Lk 12:37) and at the last supper (Jn 13:23). The prominent persons were in the middle and others were on the two sides of a U-shaped table setting. Though seats were not pre-assigned, guests were supposed to know where to recline. During a banquet, Jesus noticed how people were choosing the places of honor at the table. Then he taught them on humility, saying, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor” (Lk 14:8).
Jesus compared the kingdom of God to reclining at a banquet. While healing a centurion’s servant, Jesus said to his followers, “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11). While teaching on the entry to the kingdom through the narrow door also Jesus said, “people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God” (Lk 13:29). “Recline at table” represents the love, relaxation, joy, intimacy, and communion of saints in the Kingdom of God.
We are in a troublesome world and have conflict with the evil who would tempt us to deviate from God. Working for the kingdom is also disruptive. Jesus told his apostles, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33). When we finish our life-journey according to the teachings of Jesus, we should be able to say like Paul, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance” (2 Tim 4:7-8). Then we will recline for the eternal banquet in heaven.