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.”
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” Luke 14:12-24
Several years ago we attended a dinner at Grace Church in Jersey City. It was Holy Week, and instead of having an Agape or Seder dinner, they decided to invite the homeless to a very fancy dinner which included music and a dance performance. They had decided to find blessing by doing what God has asked, to treat with respect and honor those who need it most. It was an amazing evening, where people sat together in a candlelit sanctuary which had been rearranged to serve as a banquet hall. It was an incredible feast and a night that was a blessing for everyone.
Jesus continues to use stories to illustrate how we find blessings in our walk in faith. We are invited through the wedding banquet story, to celebrate the blessings of our lives with those who cannot repay us, with those who have been set aside and dishonored, with those who are not a networking possibility. Throughout history God has sided with the homeless and the widows, the poor and the in-firmed. If we are to truly know God in our life and be blessed, it will be by seeking out and loving those who are outside society but close to the heart of God.
Today, as the holidays approach and we plan our family celebrations, may we remember where our blessings are truly to be found. May we seek out those who are loved by God and offer them welcome, food and family. May we open our hearts and share our abundance with those who are in need, honoring them and making them welcome. May we know God's blessings this holiday season as we give ourselves away.