Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

(Philippians 2:1-4; Luke 14:12-14)

Sometimes people ask if it is a sin to tell your hostess that you liked her soup when you thought it awful. Of course, it is; but bluntness may be uncharitable as well. In any case, Jesus openly tells his host in today’s gospel that he could have done better.

When Jesus chastises the Pharisee for inviting the well-to-do and not the needy, he is commenting on an established practice that remains in vogue today. Some people calculate whom they will invite to their weddings and banquets on the basis of how much money they will receive as a gift or what might be done for them in return. It may come as a surprise that Jesus is not really opposed to the custom! But he would not have his disciples make their calculations not on whether they may receive a fat check as a gift or perhaps an invitation to a brunch at the Four Seasons. No, they should count on an eternal reward for feeding the hungry or entertaining the lonely.

The holidays are almost upon us. Perhaps some of us are already drawing up lists of guests for Thanksgiving dinner or our annual Christmas party. Let us not too quickly exclude the widow next door because she doesn’t have a mate or the man who always comes to church alone because he might be gay.