Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Sunday Word

Our Gospel lesson today shows that Jesus certainly has concern for feeding the hungry, especially those who have no way to repay our generosity. He says, “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."

That hits way too close to home, doesn't it? Most of us give luncheons or dinners for precisely the groups that Jesus mentions: Friends, family members, relatives, neighbors. We enjoy feeding them and then being fed by them.

But Jesus says to go a different direction. Think of hungry children, whether they are two or 22 million. "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."

Feed those who cannot repay you, commands Jesus. The poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind who are often stuck at home because travel is so difficult.

Make lunch or dinner for these people, suggests Jesus. Not for the folks who easily pay you back with a lunch or dinner of their own. And don't just make it a meal -- make it a banquet, a celebration. Maybe even an excessive celebration!

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is a countercultural game to play, one that is based on the belief that "all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

Anything we do to serve others without expectation of a payback will be seen as a success in the eyes of Jesus, and will move us closer to the Humility Hall of Fame.