Aug 29, 2019

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycles of Faith
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Can you imagine if Jesus threw a party? From the wedding feast at Cana, we know he wouldn’t let the wine run out.

From this Sunday’s Gospel, we know there would be quite a lively array of guests! We also knew who the most important people would be — everyone. Jesus advises throwing a party that turns everything upside down. Everyone should assume they’re the least important attendee, and the guest list shouldn’t include the neighborhood “who’s who.” Rather, we should go looking for “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” and hope they RSVP. Jesus describes a particular posture towards our own hospitality.

Parties are about the other people. “Do not recline at table in the place of honor.” How often can small talk become a one-upmanship of job promotions, home renovations, and our children’s achievements? We’ve all been to parties where being the most interesting guest is the highest achievement. Yet so often, we know the best party guests are the ones who listen well to our stories. Whether we are guests or hosts, we have the opportunity to look on others with humility and awe.

Parties are opportunities to serve. Jesus advises us to be careful who we invite “in case they might invite you back and you have repayment.” Does Jesus literally mean we shouldn’t invite our friends over? Of course not! But he does invite us to special consideration when we offer hospitality. When we invite people over to our home, what motivates us? Who we want to spend time with? Who we’d like to impress? These ultimately have only ourselves in mind. How about asking: Who could use some extra care right now? Who could benefit from a fun evening out? In other words, who can I serve?

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