November 2, 2020, Monday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time

Scripture: Luke 14:12-14

He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


      “‘. . . do not invite your friends . . they may invite you in return. . . .“

    “Social etiquette according to Jesus” could be the subtitle for chapter 14 of Luke’s Gospel. In the verses before this passage, Luke tells us that Jesus has accepted an invitation to dine at the house of a leading Pharisee. There Jesus tells a story to his fellow guests when he notices how they are competing for better seats. In today’s reading, Jesus evidently has been listening to his dinner companions discuss their impending social obligation to reciprocate by inviting the host to their houses. Always full of surprises, Jesus addresses his host, saying clearly that the next time he throws a party he should not expect to be repaid. In other words, the intention with which we do things is as important as the actual deed.

   Throughout the Gospels, especially in Luke, Jesus upholds the dignity of all persons. In Jesus’ remarks to his dinner host about whom to invite to his next party, he lists groups of people who may not be in the host’s address book —- the poor, the blind, and the lame.

   Jesus warns the Pharisee, the guests at dinner, and us about getting lost in the details of social expectation that may make us forget our real obligations. As I sit here typing this on my computer Election Day is just hours a way. Tension and anxiety is running at a high level. What are the implications of what Jesus says here for how we regard others at the political table? As members of the family of God, we are obliged to take care of our own (family and friends), but we are also obliged to take care of our neighbors at large. If we get to caught up in questions of status or position or political animus, we may overlook this other basic obligation. Jesus reminds us that his Heavenly Father will reward our good works and intention because nothing we do goes unnoticed.


    Father in heaven, I often start with the right intention, but then my need for appreciation gets in the way. I hope that the good I am able to do for my neighbors will truly reflect your love and concern for them. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


      Purify my heart.

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