(Luke 14:7-11, RSVCE)
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come, and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

One finds here no parable or story illustrating the importance of humility , but rather plain teaching. In common parlance, a parable is a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson, or a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like. That puts one in doubt as to whether a parable which Jesus in deed used, has somehow been taken away from Luke 14. My question is: have there any official studies, say, from the side of Catholic Church, undertaken to establish the possibility of such an omission ?

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    It may be better to ask the more general question, "Why is Jesus said to give a parable in Luke 14:7–11, according to Catholicism?" I'd simply point out Jesus wasn't attending a marriage feast in Luke 14. – Nathaniel is protesting Aug 29 '16 at 12:10
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    There were likely countless parables Jesus used, which were not recorded in Luke, or in any other gospel. – Flimzy Aug 29 '16 at 16:03
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    A great deal depends on your assumptions about the reliability of the texts upon which our Gospel of Luke is based. I'm not necessarily talking about matters of inerrancy, though a belief in inerrancy can potentially rule out the possibility of "omissions." In other words, if the Holy Spirit "breathed out" the Scriptures through evangelist Luke, for example, then what Luke included in or omitted from his Gospel was what the Holy Spirit intended. That perspective makes for a much simpler (though not necessarily simple minded) approach to Scripture. Don – rhetorician Aug 29 '16 at 16:52
  • I think you're being overly zealous in defining "parable" strictly. There certainly is a bit of "story" here where He describes what happens if you sit in a highly honored seat vs. a lowly honored seat. A very brief pair of stories (only a sentence or two each), yes, but stories nonetheless. And the meaning clearly goes well beyond this individual case; He's giving a less on humility in general, with one specific example. @rhetorician It looks like you comment got cut off. – jpmc26 Aug 29 '16 at 18:44
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    You probably aren't really interested in the specific teaching of the Catholic Church, in which case this question would be a good fit on our sister site Biblical Hermeneutics – Dick Harfield Aug 29 '16 at 21:14

I think you might be loading a 21st century definition of the English word "parable" onto a 1st century Greek word.

παραβολή [parabole] is also translated "proverb", "figure", "saying", and "teaching" elsewhere in the New Testament, as well as in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.


Luke 4:23 (RSVCE)

And He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb [Gr. παραβολή], ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.’”

Hebrews 9:8–9 (RSVCE)

By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing (which is symbolic for [lit. a figure - Gr. παραβολή - of] the present age).

Sirach 1:25 (RSVCE)

In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings [Gr. παραβολή], but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.

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    I agree. The story does look like a parable, properly understood. Most parables stand as an analogy or metaphor for something else. In this case, the marriage feast is being compared to something else, perhaps Heaven or the church. The point may be to warn Jewish people not to assume that their place in God's kingdom is higher than that of pagan people who will soon be clamoring for admission into the church. – Paul Chernoch Aug 29 '16 at 14:55
  • Moreover, many of Jesus' parables were stories which he intended for his audiences to "place alongside" their lives, making applications where they might be relevant. For example, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus intended for the self-righteous Pharisees who happened to be in his audience to "see" how the elder brother in the story is analogous to them in his self-righteousness, holier-than-my-profligate-younger-brother mentality. "Parable," if I'm not mistaken, can also denote "to place/throw alongside." Today we'd say, "By analogy, your attitude is just LIKE the older brother's." – rhetorician Aug 29 '16 at 17:00
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    Yes, although one could then quibble with the choice of "parable" there in English translations (and apparently the translators of the NLT did so; they use the phrase "gave…advice"). – samh Aug 29 '16 at 19:06

I agree that the OP is assumming a too restricted sense of the word parable (just as an allegory with some religious or moral teaching). But I also doubt that Jesus is merely teaching here how to behave at a marriage feast.

From St. Bede, (Catena Aurea)

But as the Evangelist calls this admonition a parable, we must briefly examine what is its mystical meaning. Whosoever being bidden has come to the marriage feast of Christ’s Church, being united to the members of the Church by faith, let him not exalt himself as higher than others by boasting of his merits. For he will have to give place to one more honorable who is bidden afterwards, seeing that he is overtaken by the activity of those who followed him, and with shame he occupies the lowest place, now that knowing better things of the others he brings low whatever high thoughts he once had of his own works. But a man sits in the lowest place according to that verse, The greater you are, humble yourself in all things. But the Lord when He comes, whomsoever He shall find humble, blessing him with the name of friend, He will command him to go up higher. For whoever humbles himself as a little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. But it is well said, Then shall you have glory, that you may not begin to seek now what is kept for you in the end. It may also be understood, even in this life, for daily does God come to His marriage feast, despising the proud; and often giving to the humble such great gifts of His Spirit, that the assembly of those who sit at meat, i.e. the faithful, glorify them in wonder. But in the general conclusion which is added, it is plainly declared that the preceding discourse of our Lord must be understood typically. For not every one who exalts himself before men is abased; nor is he who humbles himself in their sight, exalted by them. But whoever exalts himself because of his merits, the Lord shall bring low, and him who humbles himself on account of his mercies, shall He exalt.

In his comentary, Fitzmyer notes:

... though here Jesus introduces a norm of good behaviour in a concrete social event, the addition of the last versicle (11) contributes to give this norm a transcendental dimension. Nevertheless, it's still open to discussion if this is enough to confer a true character of "parable" to the first part of the episode.

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