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Anthony J. Fejfar

A Tract Book

© Copyright 2005 by Anthony J. Fejfar

In the Christian Gospel there is the parable of the banquet, which is a story told

by Jesus. In the story, a man has a dinner party and invites a number of guests from all

stations in life to the dinner party from rich to poor, nobility to commoners. Based on

the system of primogeniture, those with the highest status are seated at the head of the

table next to the host. Those with the lowest status are placed at the end of the table

away from the host. The best food is served at the end of the table by the host, and the

worst food is served at the bottom. So, gourmet pate, escargot, and fine Chablis is

served at the head of the table, lasagna and chianti in the middle of the table, and

bread and water at the bottom.

Jesus presents the problem of trying to determine where to sit at the table when

you arrive early. If you pick a seat at the head of the table then it is possible that you

will then be placed at the bottom of the table when a guest with more status arrives.

Jesus, following the rule in Christ, suggests that you place yourself at the bottom of the

table in the hope of being invited to a higher seat and not be ejected.

There is another approach though. In the Wisdom tradition, from the book of

Wisdom in the Catholic Bible, wisdom is a virtue as well a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Wisdom suggests moderation as a virtue, as found in the work of Aristotle. The wise

person, when attending the banquet will choose a seat at the middle of the table. It is

unlikely that the guest would be moved, and the guest will have a nice meal of lasagna

and chianti, instead of mere bread and water. The wise person does not really like

pate and escargot, and so refuses to sit at the head of the table anyway.

The End.