POETRY: Luke 14, A Commentary by Kathleen Norris

Luke 14, a Commentary by Kathleen Norris

So he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

He is there like Clouseau
at the odd moment,
just right: when he climbs
out of the fish pond
into which he has spectacularly
fallen, and says condescendingly
to his hosts, the owners
of the estate: “I fail
where others succeed.” You know
this is truth. You know
he’ll solve the mystery,

unprepossessing
as he is, the last
of the great detectives.
He’ll blend again into the scenery, and
more than once, he’ll be taken
for the gardener. “Come

now,” he says, taking us
for all we’re worth, “Sit
in the low place.”
Why not? We ask. So easy
to fall for a man
who makes us laugh. “Invite those
you do not know, people
you’d hardly notice.” He puts
us on, we put him on; another
of his jokes. “There’s
room,” he says. The meal is
good, absurdly
salty, but delicious. Charlie
Chaplin put it this way: “I want to play
the role of Jesus. I look the part.
I’m a Jew.
And I’m a comedian.”

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