Scripture: Luke 14:12-14 (alternate reading: John 6:37-40)
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
Meditation: Who do you honor at your table? The Lord is always ready to receive us at his table. As far as we can tell from the gospel accounts, Jesus never refused a dinner invitation! Why, in this particular instance, does Jesus lecture his host on whom he should or shouldn't invite to dinner? Did his host expect some favor or reward from Jesus? Did he want to impress his neighbors with the honor of hosting the "miracle worker" from Galilee?
Generous giving doesn't impoverish - but enriches
Jesus probes our hearts as well. Do you only show favor and generosity to those who will repay you in kind? What about those who do not have the means to repay you - the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged? Generosity demands a measure of self-sacrifice. However, it doesn't impoverish, but rather enriches the soul of the giver. True generosity springs from a heart full of mercy and compassion. God loved us first, and our love is a response of gratitude to his great mercy and kindness towards us. We cannot outmatch God in his generosity towards us. Do you give freely as Jesus gives without expectation for personal gain or reward?
"Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for your boundless love and mercy towards me. And purify my love for others that I may seek their good rather than my own benefit or gain. Free me to love others as you love."
16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast
love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
29 But I am afflicted and in pain; let thy salvation, O God, set me on high!
30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
32 Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves therein.
35 For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: First and last at the banquet table, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"'When,' he says, 'a man more honorable than you comes, he that
invited you and him will say, 'Give this man place.' Oh, what
great shame is there in having to do this! It is like a theft, so
to speak, and the restitution of the stolen goods. He must restore
what he has seized because he had no right to take it. The modest
and praiseworthy person, who without fear of blame might have
claimed the dignity of sitting among the foremost, does not seek
it. He yields to others what might be called his own, that he may
not even seem to be overcome by empty pride. Such a one shall
receive honor as his due. He says, 'He shall hear him who invited
him say, 'Come up here.' ...If any one among you wants to be set
above others, let him win it by the decree of heaven and be
crowned by those honors that God bestows. Let him surpass the many
by having the testimony of glorious virtues. The rule of virtue is
a lowly mind that does not love boasting. It is humility. The
blessed Paul also counted this worthy of all esteem. He writes to
those who eagerly desire saintly pursuits, 'Love humility.'" (excerpt
from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 101)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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