Gospel LK 14:1, 7-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
"When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
'Give your place to this man,'
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
'My friend, move up to a higher position.'
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Then 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."
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in the them, the fire of your Love. Amen,
This passage strikes a chord with me, because as a Missionary of Charity, we ate at long tables with benches. Quite often the temptation could be, where to sit when it came to meal time. During the day, silence was observed, so meal time was one of the prime opportunities to talk to others. I remember the temptation, sometimes strong and sometimes more subtle, but it was there; to pick and choose where one would sit. Based upon who you wanted to talk to, or based upon, whose company was more enjoyable as they were humorous or deep. In this Gospel passage it seems everyone at this dinner is being gently reprimanded and taught. What can we learn from Jesus? Quite simply, in one word—Love. We can learn what genuine love looks like even at the table. It does not ‘stack the deck’ if one is the host. It does not seek attention, affection, praise, notice, or consolation if one is the guest. It does pour out love without measure, to whomever I am next too, because they are a precious child of Father. I remember Mother telling us, when we sit at a table with others, that we never know who is the closest one to God, show that reverence to each one alike. But for us, who are these poor? blind? lame and crippled one’s that Jesus is speaking of? Perhaps the poor are those who can never treat us at Starbucks because they just don’t have the change, yet they so graciously thank us for anything we do for them, they are such open hearts to God. Maybe the blind are the ones who cannot see the Truth, cannot accept it in their hearts and so their company for us, is not always pleasant, consoling or sweet.’ Perhaps the lame and crippled are those who can’t help us when we need help, and we find ourselves always on the ‘giving end’ with them, yet we realize they truly give us the opportunity ‘to Love’ and without them, we would be stuck in ourselves. We all have all of these people in our lives if we ponder it carefully.
Perhaps what Jesus is asking and teaching us is so very simple, Could He be teaching us the means to liberty and joy, and that is—to ‘Simply Love’ who He places before us. To Love without prejudice, without calculation. Ouch! This strikes a nerve with us all, because who of us would want to consider ourselves prejudiced, and yet we are, when we choose whom we love, whom we consider ‘of value’ or worth my time and conversation, whom we give our kindness, our sweet smiles, our graciousness to- when we choose this, we are not living in the freedom and joy that our Lord is inviting to enter. He is inviting to Love without looking at self. In the Gospel of Luke, the Beatitudes are spoken of, as “Happy” whereas in the Gospel of Matthew the word used is “Blessed.” It would seem, that Jesus is teaching us how to be happy throughout our lives in our interactions with others, especially being mindful of this in social settings where pretense can rob us of the peace of the children of God. This wonderful blessedness consists in humbly and lavishly loving, without discrimination or prejudice, without selfish motives. Not looking for anything but just simply and freely loving, , because it is the Good, it is God-like. Whenever we “follow the manners in the household of God” something marvelous happens…we enjoy the freedom that goes with it.
Examen Point: Who are those in my life, that I love differently’ because of who they are? Whom do I love more tenderly? Whom do I love in a more reserved manner because of who they are? “Whatever you do to the least, You did it to me” (Mt 25)
“Lord, send me a humiliation, every time I place myself above another human being” (St Therese)