Jorg asked: “Does this verse also imply that this puts one in a more advantageous position of cultivating the path, e.g., cultivating an understanding of tilakkhana?”
Yes. Honoring (and taking care of) the wise (especially Noble Persons, parents, wise elders, etc.) helps set the necessary background to cultivate the Noble Path. It will help in this life and also in future lives.
– One who cultivates such prerequisites (also including giving, cultivating metta, etc.) will lead to rebirths conducive to cultivating the path. One will be reborn to a family with the right background (so that one will be exposed to Buddha Dhamma) and have a long healthy life.
“Vuddhapacayino” comes from “vuddha” for elderly/wise, and “apacāyana” means to respect.
– Those who honor and respect the wise/Noble will get to a (mundane) “nicca” state where one’s expectations (on making progress on the Path) can be expected to be fulfilled.
– “Bala” here is not just physical strength but also “having enough resources” like enough health/wealth/wisdom so as not to be distracted from the Path.