11/6/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reading: Luke 14:12-14
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
12 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 sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
11/6/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reflection / homily / sermon: Luke 14:12-14
In the gospel reading above, we see Jesus being invited into someone’s home and something great happens. We already know what happened when Jesus entered homes of Zacchaeus, of Mary and Martha, and of Peter’s Mother-in-law. In the case of the leading Pharisee in the passage above, that something great was the opportunity to listen to the teachings of Jesus. If only this Pharisee had listened and obeyed.
Jesus is once again inviting us to do good. Not only that, He is calling us to do good without expecting something in return. Much of our actions are a matter of quid pro quo or trade-off. “I’ll do this for you but you have to do something for me.” What the Lord is telling us to love unconditionally. Specifically, when we invite people, we have to invite those who can not invite us back. They are the poor and the physically disabled.
In economics, we say that there is no such thing as free lunch. Someone will have to pay for the food we consume. This is also true in our spiritual life. We invite the poor who cannot pay us back yet we are actually being rewarded for doing so. It is not them who will reward us but our Father who sees our inner motive will repay us with something far more valuable than anything in this world. God does not forget our little good deeds – the fruits of our faith. At the end of our earthly life, God will congratulate us, crown us, and welcome into His eternal kingdom.
Of course, this is not to say that we will have to do something good in order to enter heaven. We cannot enter heaven by our own merits. By His death and resurrection, Jesus has already opened the gates of heaven for those who believe in Him. Yet if we truly believe in Him, we must obey His teachings. One of His teachings is the gospel passage above – Go out and serve the poor.