Monday, November 8, 2010

Who to Invite?

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 relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14

I was recently at a splendid dinner party with other bishops. The meal was splendid and the conversation was good. We were well fed and served expertly and I came away hungry. My family and I have been talking about Thanksgiving plans and it is often such a wrangled that I never want to eat again. And I attended a funeral yesterday where I was not admitted to communion and thought a great deal about Christ's invitation to the banquet. Neither the dinner party nor Thanksgiving is about the food or the location nor the service but about the people, yet we often forget this as we worry about being right.

Jesus told his disciples to invite the outcasts, the poor, the broken people who would never be able to invite you in, let alone provide a meal. People who can never pay you back, and who struggle just to do the smallest things we take for granted. A true Thanksgiving, a true banquet is a table laid out in thankfulness and which is open to all. The Eucharistic feast, the communion table cannot be limited to like minded but to those far and wide who hear the call of God. How obsessed we are about meals and cooking and forget to open the door to the least, to swing wide our hearts and our vision to the neighbors who are thankful for any meal, any invitation, any smile, any welcome.

Today, in this week of busy-ness and activity, I want to remember the least among us and find ways to include and invite them in. I ask God to help me see who I am not seeing and invite and welcome who I have left out in the past. May we all be open to opening our hearts and homes to the world that Christ came for and aches that we might reach out in love.

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