Gospel Reading: Lk 14:12-14
On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
WHEN YOU HOLD A BANQUET, INVITE THE POOR
In this short section, Jesus expands his observations regarding the behavior of people at dinner. Beyond worrying about what seats we get as guests at table, there is the question of whom we invite as guests. Jesus calls us to serve those who cannot repay our kindness. We should not invite friends, relatives, or rich neighbors, for the repayment comes in the fact that they will invite us back. Jesus’ point is that loving and hosting those who love you and are your friends is not inherently morally commendable. One expects that to be the case. Rather, we should invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” The best hospitality is that which is given, not exchanged. Then divine commendation will come. Though those invited cannot repay, God will reward such care in the resurrection to come (cf 1 Cor 4:5). Again, the promise of reward is expressed in the passive voice (“will be repaid”), which means that God gives the response. He commends those who reach out to the needy and minister to them, often in quiet ministries that no one ever sees. True righteousness does not look for a payback but is offered free of charge, graciously, just as God in Christ has forgiven us free of charge (cf Eph 4:32; 5:2).
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In our daily encounter with others, how do we deal with the lost, the least, and the little ones?
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